The #MeToo hashtag on social media is proof that one voice can make a big difference. The trend was started by actress Alyssa Milano on Twitter, following sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Alyssa acted alongside Rose McGowan, who accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. She wrote:
Christiane Amanpour reported on CNN, "The hashtag quickly caught on, with many prominent women sharing it on social media, spurring more and more and more women to sign on and to speak up."
Amanpour emphasized that this movement will only be a game changer if it's a team effort.
"Because behind a vocal woman, there must stand a good and vocal man—to hear her, to support her, to defend her, and to speak out with her."
In the Philippines, a number of celebrities who experienced sexual harassment have also spoken up—some even before the hashtag trended. Let us revisit their stories of bravery and strength, and take after their courage to come forward and fight.
1. Sunshine Cruz
The actress was married to action star Cesar Montano for 13 years, although their relationship was reportedly strained by Cesar's infidelities. The last straw was in 2013 when allegations of an affair between Cesar and actress Krista Miller ultimately ended their relationship.
Also in the same year, Sunshine sued her estranged husband for sexual abuse. An article in the Philippine Star quoted Sunshine’s legal affidavit about the incident: "Cesar 'barged' into Sunshine's house when she was alone. [The affidavit] added that the actor 'violently attacked her, employed physical violence,' and then raped the Kapamilya actress."
2. Rhian Ramos
Rhian Ramos took to Instagram in 2016 to talk about how she was harassed in a bar by a man who was "partying too hard." She posted on Instagram, "The real reason why I needed to vent this all out here, is because these things happen everywhere, all the time, and I want to speak to all of the people that this situation represents. To remind women not to question themselves."
3. Mich Dulce
The feisty fashion designer fought back against a foreigner who groped her butt outside a bar in Makati. She told Cosmo.ph: "I'm known to be outspoken, and I called him out, but I was also at a loss on what else to do. It's easy to freeze, and be shocked in the moment. If I felt like that, what about other [less outspoken] women?"
Here’s a transcript of her confrontation caught on video:
Mich: "You come here and you say you can touch anyone you want?"
Guy: "I live here, I don't come here."
Mich: "You just groped me, then you said to me, I live here, and I can touch any Filipino ass I want. Are you fucking kidding me? You CAN'T touch ANY woman!"
Guy 2, Mich's producer: "Just walk."
Guy: "Okay, I'll leave."
Mich: "Can you like, walk away?"
Guy: "Are you really that pussy whipped?"
Mich: "He's not pussy whipped. He's just a fucking nice person and not a fucking misogynist like you."
Guy: "I'm a misogynist?"
Mich: "Yeah. If you walk around thinking you can grope people, you're a fucking misogynist."
Guy: "How did I grope you?"
Mich: "Excuse me? Everyone fucking saw that! I was standing there and you touched my fucking ass."
Guy: "Show me the video."
Mich: "Fucking walk away."
Guy: "You have a video?"
Mich: "Fucking walk away!"
Guy: "So no video?"
Mich: "No, I don't have a video, because you fucking touched me. Everybody's right here."
4. Maggie Wilson
GMA News Online reported that the former Miss World 2007 candidate had a bad experience during the competition: "...when I was competing in China, I was physically harassed by our sponsors. Hinawakan 'yung puwet ko, tapos 'yung ibang girls, dinakma ang boobs! Siyempre, hindi nilabas sa press kasi nasa kontrata ko, bawal."
Maggie added, "Chinese sponsors sila, isang malaking kumpanya. Nabastos ako. Ay, sinampal ko talaga siya, 'no! 'Yung humawak sa akin. Sabi ko, 'Don't touch me!' Ginanun ko siya. Dyusko, I'd rather have my dignity, 'di ba? I'd rather have my dignity than pumayag ako na bastusin ako para manalo ako, 'di ba?"
5. Patricia Martinez
The eldest daughter of actors Yayo Aguila and William Martinez filed a case against Baron Geisler for groping her breasts at a bar in 2008. ABS-CBN News reported Patricia's statement: "Bilangin ko daw ang pera niya, he asked me kung may boyfriend na ako, sabi ko oo, inulit niya ang tanong, sinagot ko uli, tapos sabi niya mag-sex tayo. Niyakap niya ako nang mahigpit, ginamit ko na lang panangga ulo ko, tapos hinawakan niya face ko, tapos breast ko, I wanted to smack him right then and there."
6. Yasmien Kurdi
The actress also filed a case against Baron Giesler. In 2009, PEP.ph reported that Baron groped, kissed, and masturbated in front of his then co-star. Yasmien personally went to the Philippine National Police Women's and Children's Protection Center in Camp Crame with her counsel Atty. Ferdinand Topacio and filed a case against the actor. After two years, Yasmien withdrew the case and forgave the actor.
Yasmien is now married to Rey Soldevilla Jr. and is a mother to a beautiful baby girl named Ayesha Zara.
7. Cherry Pie Picache
In 2011, veteran actress Cherry Pie Picache came forward and said Baron touched her breasts during a scene for the now-defunct teleserye Noah. This resulted in a public apology by the actor that led him to sign up for a 90-day rehab program.