#HijaAko trends after Frankie Pangilinan hits back at Ben Tulfo for victim-blaming women

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 14) — Netizens backed Frankie Pangilinan under the hashtag #HijaAko after she criticized TV host Ben Tulfo for saying the way women dress invites sex offenders to commit crime.

It all started when Pangilinan, daughter of Senator Francis and actress Sharon Cuneta, reacted past midnight on Saturday to a now deleted Facebook post by the Lucban Municipal Police Station, which told women to dress modestly to avoid getting harassed. "STOP TEACHING GIRLS HOW TO DRESS?? TEACH PEOPLE NOT TO RAPE," she tweeted.

READ: PNP Chief orders probe on Lucban police station's victim-blaming post on social media

On Saturday evening, Tulfo tagged Pangilinan in a tweet, wherein he called her "hija" and said all a rapist or a juvenile sex offender needs is an opportunity to commit a crime. "Sexy ladies, careful with the way you dress up! You are inviting the beast," he said.

Pangilinan countered Tulfo's tweet on Sunday morning, saying, "rape culture is real and a product of this precise line of thinking, where the behavior is normalized, particularly by men.” She added, “the way anyone dresses should not be deemed as an 'opportunity' to sexually assault them. ever."

Pangilinan also replied to her tweet a screencap of a Facebook post from BITAG Live, which Tulfo hosts. The post argued sex maniacs and rapists cannot be taught how to control their sexual desires and criminal state. "Ang tanging magagawa ay manamit ng tama. Huwag nating pukawin ang pagnanasa nila. Ito ang iyo magagawa," he said.

[Translation: What can only be done is to dress properly. Do not rouse their desire. That's what you can do.]

"Bago natin sila baguhin, baguhin muna natin ang sarili't pag-iisip natin. Gets mo, Hija?," read the post, adding that Pangilinan's dad Kiko authored the Juvenile Justice and Welfare act, which discusses how children and teens committing crimes should be handled accordingly.

[Translation: Before we can change them, let's change ourselves and our way of thinking first. Get it, Hija?]

Pangilinan also took offense to Tulfo addressing her as "hija," adding it "will not belittle" her point.

A few hours after, Pangilinan tweeted the hashtag #HijaAko, which contains a screencap of a message from an unnamed sender saying they'd "also like to sign up for the hija label if that's what ben tulfo's calling girls who fight for their rights as human beings."

And the hashtag was born. #HijaAko now has over 20,000 tweets mostly from netizens condemning Tulfo's victim-blaming remarks, with others opting to share their own experiences of sexual harassment.

"stop telling girls what to wear. it doesn't matter what girls wear or what time of day it is. rape/sexual harassment happens bcos of the offender's dirty twisted mind," one netizen shared.

Another Twitter user tweeted that the culture of victim blaming will never be abolished as long as men who think like Tulfo exist.

Meanwhile, this netizen criticized the way Tulfo addressed Pangilinan, saying "boomers love to use hija/hijo to downplay our points and our efforts to make a change to hide the fact that they grew up believing problematic beliefs that they carried out through adulthood."

Lawyer and human rights advocate Erin Tañada III, who is also Pangilinan's godfather and a partymate of her father, expressed support for her as well. "We should stand-up to bullies in the form of Dirty Old Men!," he tweeted.

“I never said that I’m blaming the victims. Let’s get it straight, this is not a blame game. I said, let’s not awaken the beast within the criminals," said Tulfo in a statement to bitagmedia.com, said the website in one of its recent releases.

“It looks like Frankie Pangilinan has addressed my reaction to her ‘tweets’ last night," said Tulfo, according to the site. Sa paggamit niya ng ‘hija’ sa kanyang Twitter account, patuloy na mananatili ang gabay at anino ni Ben Tulfo sa kaniya.”

[Translation: With her using "hija" in her Twitter account, the guidance and shadow of Ben Tulfo will always remain with her.]