How safe are Grab cars? Driver allegedly molests female passenger in Manila

The 21-year-old says a Grab driver harassed and molested her. Is the ride-hailing app really as safe as we all believe?

Grab is favored by many as a safer, efficient option. Not like regular cabs, who overcharge or often deal with passengers rudely. But there have been instances that show there are dangerous Grab drivers worth watching out for.

The latest of which happened in April 2018. According to a report by GMA’s 24 Oras, a Grab driver harassed and molested a 21-year-old female passenger. 

She tells the news program that she booked a ride from an Ortigas mall en route to Antipolo. Thinking that driver was nice and friendly, she felt safe to sit in the passenger seat.

But to her horror, she recalls how he suddenly started touching her inappropriately, first on the chin and then on the chest. Naturally, this frightened her.

After the harassment took place, she texted her friends who quickly came to her aid

Though she wanted to get out of the moving car, she couldn’t. Instead, she texted her friends for help, asking them to meet her at a shop along the way.

She asked the Grab driver, identified as Luis Castro Pangilinan, to let her off there and when she opened the door, her friends were waiting. 

Upon being confronted, the driver explained that he was just being friendly and apologized. The girl started crying, saying she feared she would be raped, as her friends berated the driver. They insisted that she would not be this upset if no harassment had happened, as the driver claimed.

She reported the incident to the police. In response, Grab assured the passenger that the driver had already been banned from the company.

Though some of the comments showed their support for the young woman reported above, some netizens say it is her fault for getting in the passenger seat. To be clear, the woman who was harassed is not to blame.

Victim-blaming is never the answer.

No woman or man, regardless of their actions or attire, “deserves” to be sexually harassed or humiliated. We all have the right to dignity, to be able to travel home at night without fear.

You can watch the full report below.

How can we protect our families from rude or dangerous Grab drivers?

This is not the first report of dangerous Grab drivers. Back in 2016, a young woman fell asleep during a ride when a driver took advantage and kissed her against her will.

But it isn’t only passengers who are at risk in Grab cars.

According to a recent report, a Grab driver was allegedly molested by a drunk male passenger. Last year, a well-loved Grab driver was robbed and killed by a passenger. 

Just because there have been instances of dangerous Grab drivers, it doesn’t mean we should write off the ride-hailing app altogether. Rather, we should take steps to make sure our families are always safe and alert at all times.

To raise our children as brave adults who continue the fight against harassment, the first step is to speak out bravely against it.

Knowing your rights, and teaching your kids to stand up for theirs, is key.

dangerous grab drivers

Dangerous Grab drivers aren’t the only dangers lurking in the streets. Teach your kids about harassment when they’re ready! | image source: stock photo

Here are the laws in place that all of us should know about. 

Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children (VAWC) Act, RA 9262

Sexual harassment is violence, says this law. According to article 3, sexual violence is “rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object, making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks.”

Learn more about it here.

Anti-Sexual Harassment Act, RA 7877

In Quezon city alone, 3 in 5 women of all ages will be harassed at least once in their lifetime. 

A majority of sexual harassment, like catcalling and lewd gestures, happens in the streets. But it can also happen in formal settings, like in the workplace.

According to this act, sexual harassment when someone when a peer or superior “requests or otherwise requires any sexual favor from the other.”

Though unwanted touches is the most overt form of harassment, there are many ways a person can be harassed. If an offender creates an environment of fear, intimidation, hostility, then it can be considered a form of sexual harassment, according to this law.

Learn more about it here.

Empower your daughters and sons to speak out against harassment by equipping them with the right knowledge as early as possible. Here’s where to start.

  • Teach them agency over their body. They have every right not to be touched or made to do anything that feels uncomfortable or wrong. Teach them not to be embarrassed about using the right names for body parts and to speak out if they are touched inappropriately.
  • Emphasise boundaries. They have every right not to kiss or hug an adult, even close relatives, if they do not want to. You kids need to know they can say ‘no’ without pressure or shame. They should be brave to assert boundaries, but also sensitive enough to respect the boundaries of others. 
  • Know how to escape unsafe situations. Never agree to being alone with an adult if you feel unsafe. Teach them that it’s okay to make a scene when threatened or harassed, as long as they’re sure they are in a safe space. 
  • Establish equality in the home. Do away with the concept of gender-specific tasks or even toys. Teach both sons and daughters to cherish and respect one another. Empower young boys just as much as girls to stand up against harassment.
  • Model bravery. Watch your language and actions. Avoid any form of sexism in the home. Practice what you preach, as they say. Standing up against harassment begins with your example.

For more information on where to report sexual violence, check this page.

source: 24 Oras (GMA News), Preen Inquirer, Rappler, Philippine Commision on Women

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