Fil-Am Stanford students join outcry over sex assault case
Filipino-American students from Stanford University are adding their voices to support sexual assault victims amid the controversy surrounding a former Stanford student-athlete who was given a six-month jail time after being convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman last year.
Pilipino American Student Union (PASU) co-chairs Jade Verdeflor and Roland Centeno told GMA News Online on Thursday that the organization has, "for the past few years," participated in events geared toward the anti-sexual assault movement in Stanford.
These events include Take Back the Night, "a campus-wide event with the mission of ending sexual, relationship, and domestic violence," and One Billion Rising, a "worldwide campaign with the goal of ending violence against women."
However, PASU is still creating a "collective statement endorsed by the organization as a whole" on Brock Turner, a former Stanford student-athlete convicted of sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster in 2015.
Speaking as an individual, Centeno said the incident prompted him to ask his parents about how sexual assault and gender roles are handled in the Philippines.
"In general, from my own experience I would say that my parents have been very open and not limited regarding their stance on gender roles," he shared.
"However, these recent events have prompted me to have those discussions with my parents to hear about how these problems manifest in the Philippines, since I did not grow up there," Centeno added.
Verdeflor, meanwhile, promoted the development of modules on sexuality and affirmative consent, and hailed California's action to require high schools to teach what affirmative sexual consent looks like.
"Society has perpetuated a system wherein many offenders do not end up taking appropriate responsibility for the actions that they commit. Instead, society has tended to shift much of the burden on the survivors," she said.
"I believe that this mindset needs to change, and it is up to all of us to educate ourselves on how to make a difference," Verdeflor added.
Kathleen Gutierrez, together with Erin Bennet, filed a complaint against Blake Wentworth for allegedly touching and making inappropriate sexual comments on them in 2014 and 2015.
Gutierrez said she was "subjected to an oppressive, hostile, intimidating, and offensive work environment" and was told by Wentworth that intimate student-teacher relationships were tolerated in his former workplaces.
The grad student was forced to leave school after months of ill-treatment from the professor. —KBK, GMA News