A video by local media outlet Kami.com.ph has been circulating online. The video, which looks like it’s part of a series called Human Meter, is supposedly an unscripted social experiment created to show how unsafe it is for women at night in the Philippines. In it, a young lady is standing alone somewhere in Quezon City, and on five occasions, men approach her, asking her where she lives, where she’s headed, and if she wants a ride.
Of the five encounters, only one gets the channel’s green light of approval, meaning the stranger seemed genuinely concerned with the woman’s safety, even suggesting she book a Grab because the area is a shady one. The rest are a bit creepy, guys leaning in too close for comfort and pressing her for information when she’s made it clear she’s not interested at all. The worst of the lot even gets out of his vehicle and suggests something sexual by pleading, “Sige na, saglit lang.” Yikes.
The video has sparked a debate about its authenticity. A number of Facebook users perceive the video as fake, scripted, and designed to be polarizing. It’s easy to understand how some have jumped to this conclusion. The video becomes problematic in the sense that it doesn’t fully disclose the exact location of the events, despite the actress saying that this happened in Quezon City. The behavior of men and women in other parts of the country might vary. It’s also fallacious to conclude that 4 out of 5 advances automatically equates to a bigger problem. And although there are no claims made that there were any actual sociological experts involved, for the experiment to truly work and be considered legit, the process should include a number of other factors. It's clear that this video was created to elicit an emotional response.
Rigged or not, however, one need not look as far as the comments section to see the outpouring of horrific tales. Female netizens are commenting that this is a common occurrence and they have fallen victim to actions like these in the past. This shit happens too often and maybe it’s time we all did our part to make it stop.
As of writing, the video has over 56, 000 shares and over 47,000 reactions. Looking at those numbers and comments, it would be naïve of us to think that women feel completely safe walking our city streets. Just ask your girlfriend. Just ask your wife. Just ask your younger sisters how they really feel.
Men look. Men leer. Men approach and make inappropriate remarks and breach personal space. Not all men do, but there are those who still persist. And maybe all this video is trying to say is that it’s difficult for women not to feel vulnerable when that happens. Shrug it off as clickbait, but how you react to it is more telling of your own authenticity on the subject matter.