Penalize electronic violence against women – Gabriela solons

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LAWMAKERS from the Gabriela Party-list have proposed to penalize a person who records, reproduces and distributes videos showing the victim’s private area or naked body without her consent causing emotional or psychological distress or suffering.

Reps. Emmi De Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan said House Bill 6815, which defines Electronic Violence Against Women (E-VAW), seeks to amend Republic Act 9262 or Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act by eliminating any creative legal defense that may be used by violators of the law to manipulate technology to inflict violence against women and children.

In pushing for the measure, De Jesus said the incidence of E-VAW is rising even with Republic Act 9995 or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 because the special relationship among parties under R.A. 9262 was not taken into account.

“While it is not difficult to see that in this age and time and given its speed and reach, the Internet and communications technology (ICT) can cause more damage and violence which are often indelible in nature, it is regrettable that RA 9262 failed to positively mention the existence of this form of violence now known as electronic violence against women or E-VAW,” De Jesus said.

E-VAW refers to any act that involves the use or exploitation of information and communications technology that causes or is likely to cause mental, emotional or psychological distress or suffering to the victim.

Under the measure, it is unlawful to record, reproduce or distribute video/s showing the victim’s naked body, genitals, pubic area, buttocks or breast without her consent.

The measure shall penalize persons who upload or share without the consent of the victim any media that contain pictures, voice or video with lewd, indecent or sexual content or context.

Likewise, harassing or threatening the victim, stalking and using the victim’s picture, video, voice, name or any other aspect of the victim’s identity in any video game, phone application, program and the like, which puts or tends to put the victim in a bad light, shall be penalized.

Arresto Mayor shall be imposed to the perpetrator who threatens to cause electronic violence against a woman and child while prision correccional shall be imposed to a perpetrator who causes electronic violence against a woman and/or child.

In addition to imprisonment, the perpetrator shall be fined with not more than P500,000; undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment and report compliance to the court.

To safeguard the victim from further harm, minimize any disruption in the victim’s daily life, and facilitate the opportunity and ability of the victim to independently regain control over her life, an E-VAW Protection Order shall be issued to immediately block, blacklist, and remove any upload, program or application that causes or tends to cause violence against the victim.

Once issued, the E-VAW protection order shall be valid while the case is pending and until the same is revoked by an Order of the court.

“In this growing technology-dependent society, it is our beholden duty to also update our laws in order to address the fast-changing realities and means of commission of crimes,” Ilagan said.

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