Ending victim-blaming through the #DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit at the Gateway Mall

Ending victim-blaming through the #DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit at the Gateway Mall





“According to a report by the Center for Women’s Resources in 2017, Philippine Police records show that 1 Filipino woman or child is raped every hour in this country,” said Ambassador Harald Fries of the Embassy of Sweden.

Oftentimes, survivors of sexual harassment and gender-based violence are asked, “What were you wearing when the assault happened?” This line of questioning implies that the assault is the fault of the victim and cultivates a culture of victim-blaming.


“Sexual harassment, sexual abuse is never, never the fault of the survivor,” said Iori Kato, country representative of the United Nations Population Fund. “Stop the victim-blaming. Let’s put the blame on who should be blamed – the perpetrator!” he added.

In an effort to end victim-blaming, the Araneta Center and SPARK! Philippines launched on March 1 the #DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit at the Gateway Mall. The exhibit, which is the centerpiece of the #RespetoNaman campaign, showcases clothes worn by women (and even children!) when they experienced gender-based violence in various settings - at home, in school, at the workplace, in the community.

The clothes displayed at the #DontTellMeHowtoDress Exhibit are ordinary everyday outfits, which were worn by survivors when they were sexually harassed and assaulted. The exhibit aims to “transform the idea among misconception that it’s the survivors’ fault for sexual harassment, sexual abuse for what they wear,” explained Kato.
“At the heart of the (#RespetoNaman) campaign is the message of the importance about respect – respect for women’s basic human right for body ownership and respect for safe spaces for women regardless of their line of work, what they are wearing, where they are, or who they are. Nothing can ever justify harassment, violence, or rape,” explained Ambassador Harald Fries of the Embassy of Sweden.

“The #DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit reminds everyone what people wear should never justify harassment and rape,” Fries concluded.


"At the heart of the (#RespetoNaman) campaign is the message of the importance about respect – respect for women’s basic human right for body ownership and respect for safe spaces for women regardless of their line of work, what they are wearing, where they are, or who they are.” – Ambassador Harald Fries, Embassy of Sweden

“Nothing can ever justify harassment, violence, or rape.” – Ambassador Harald Fries, Embassy of Sweden

“Sexual harassment, sexual abuse is never, never the fault of the survivor.” – Country Representative Iori Kato, United Nations Population Fund

“Stop the victim-blaming. Let’s put the blame on who should be blamed – the perpetrator!” – Country Representative Iori Kato, United Nations Population Fund


“The #DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit reminds everyone what people wear should never justify harassment and rape.” – Ambassador Harald Fries, Embassy of Sweden


#DontTellMeHowToDress Exhibit at the Gateway Mall is open to the public from March 1 to 8. It is part of “FilipinAmazing: Honoring Filipino Women at the Araneta Center,” a series of activities focusing on women empowerment. Aside from the exhibit, the Araneta Center also held the “Neon Fitness Party” at the Manhattan Row last March 2. Women’s Bazaar will then be held at the Gateway Mall from March 15 to 17 to promote artisanal Pinay-made items. The bazaar will highlight the products made by women from Spark-sponsored communities, including those from Marawi.

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