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Lady judges: ‘End sextortion’

First Posted 09:34:00 03/04/2011

When a boss asks an employee to have sex with him in exchange for a job promotion, that?s ?sextortion,? a female magistrate said yesterday.

So is a teacher seeking sexual favors from a student seeking better grades.

Scenarios like this occur in various parts of the world including the Philippines, said Associate Justice Teresita de Castro of the Supreme Court, but public awareness is still low.

This form of corruption was one of the topics discussed by 250 female judges gathered for the 16th Annual Convention of Philippine Women Judges Association at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City.

?Sextortion??a combination of ?sex? and ?extortion??is not part of legal jargon in the country, said Justice de Castro.

But while it is not defined as such under the present laws, the elements are recognized under existing laws against sexual harassment, rape and acts of lasciviousness.

?They are called differently but the elements are the same,? De Castro said.

The International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) partnered with the Philippines, along with Tanzania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, to start an anti-sextortion project in March 2009.

?We want the community to be aware of the existence of sextortion. The project will enable authorized institutions of the government to carefully protect the population against this crime, this social evil,? De Castro said.

De Castro said ?sextortion? involves the dynamics of power and control, the abuse of authority to extract sex from unwilling women or men, and the abuse of power for purposes of sexual exploitation.

The keynote speaker Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia said she was grateful to the judges for gathering to speak about an issue that ?continues to be an obstacle to the true empowerment of women and the freedom of both men and women alike.?

Michael Yu, outgoing president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu CityCchapter, in a separate interview, said this kind of abuse was ?terrible and the worst form of corruption? and should be condemned. /Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol and Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus

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