Video or photo voyeurs who violate the privacy of individuals, or abuse the trust of persons with whom they have a relationship, should be dealt with harshly by the law, Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said Sunday, amid the outrage over the Hayden Kho-Katrina Halili sex video scandal.
“They do not deserve the kid-glove treatment,” Taliño-Mendoza said, as she warned that unwanted video and photo voyeurism, if left unchecked, could potentially breed more sexual violence against women and children.
“Studies abroad have indicated that voyeurs who spend a great deal of resources in their activities, if allowed to get away with their offenses, are inclined to degenerate into violent sexual predators,” she pointed out.
Voyeurism refers to the spying on people, mostly women and young girls, engaged in intimate conduct, such as disrobing, sexual activity, or other motions regarded as private in nature.
To help curb electronic voyeurism, Taliño-Mendoza said local governments should consider restricting video equipment, camera phones and similar recording electronics from the private areas of communal buildings, such as mall restrooms.
“When a woman or a young girl uses a restroom at a mall, school, or gym, she expects minimum privacy. She trusts that the mall or school has taken sensible steps to safeguard her privacy,” Taliño-Mendoza said.
“Workplaces too, whether public or private, should take reasonable precautions to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected against voyeurs,” she added.
Some malls have drawn criticism after intimate videos and photos of unsuspecting female patrons, mostly captured while they were in restrooms, ended up on the Internet.
Last year, a football referee was caught taking videos of female players showering at the Ateneo de Manila University gym, at the height of an inter-school volleyball tournament.
Dennis Balore, the referee, was outside the shower room and used his mobile phone to sneakily capture half-naked images of the players, some of whom were minors.
Balore is facing criminal charges and has since been banned for life from any football activity.
In America, Taliño-Mendoza noted that it is a federal crime to secretly capture images of people on government property in situations in which privacy is expected.