HAU gamers fight against discrimination and harassment

HAU Valliant Esports remains #TrulyValiant, standing in solidarity with AcadArena, a premier national campus esports program in the Philippines, in accordance with the Safe Spaces Act.

Valiant Esports recently changed its profile picture and cover photo to show support to the cause. Jan Robert Alvarez, president of Valiant Esports Club, clarified in an interview that the issues regarding sexual harassment and injustices are now being addressed by AcadArena and esports students leaders around the country to assure a safer environment for everyone in the gaming platform. 

“We believe that light must be shed on issues like this and that much more efforts must be made towards preventing them from occurring again,” Alvarez said.

He considered the said issue as a shame in the realm of esports. However, Valiant Esports recognizes the need to deal with this matter and guarantees the practice of the Safe Space Act regulations. He acknowledged that their voices must be heard and amplified. To date, their executive board already makes up five women.

As they take a proactive approach in making a safe space in the campus esports, AcadArena and esports student leaders take a stand by proposing some solutions which are as follows:  a student’s guide or handbook that determines what practices show harassment or sexism in video games, streaming and esports; conduct a mandatory seminar about these issues; provide guidelines and penalty to players and aspiring esports merit scholars if proven to have violations; and create more video games and esports programs for women. 

As AcadArena’s slogan #NotJustPlay does not only pertain to the competition itself, it is also anchored in education and experiences. Alvarez emphasizes and encourages everyone to educate themselves and exercise the Safe Spaces Act as well.

”We also encourage every Angelite to put effort into it, knowing that we are all students learning to make a difference and positive impact on our society,” Alvarez added.

Where it all started

In a Facebook post last September 26, pro-gamer and streamer Em Dangla, also known as ‘Kaisaya’, opens up to the public the existence of sexual harassment in the esports community, with a particular incident that happened in February 2019. 

Dangla revealed that she filed a report against  Zeus Torquator, a Professional “Mobile Legends Bang Bang” commentator, who leaked and shared her private video with her ex-boyfriend Aron Laxamana. Because of the incident, it caused her to develop anxiety and depression leading to suicidal thoughts. She decided to keep it and resolve it privately by asking for the cooperation of Torquator, Laxamana and Shin Ponferrada, a fellow esports player and shoutcaster who  also happens to be her supposed testifier of the incident. Unfortunately, the case was withdrawn and justice was not served as Dangla mentioned the refusal of Ponferrada to attest. 

Dangla remained silent for almost two years not until to her surprise, seeing Ponferrada’s comment in a public post “I remember refusing to testify against you, dahil tropa pa rin ako despite ng nangyari.” which she considered as a blackmail to Torquator referring to the incident that happened in 2019.

This pushed Dangla to speak out about her experience to point out the truth and address her anguish. Most importantly, she aims to voice out other women who also experienced the same thing. She encourages them to make a stand and take legal actions about the matter.

Following Dangla’s post, Ponferrada made a Facebook post stating he has no intention to blackmail Torquator and he is not denying any of the accusations against him. He also admitted that he regrettably neglected his judgement in “choosing something he thought was bigger than justice”, coming from his own words.

Last Monday, Torquator made an apology in his Facebook followed by declaring that he is going to leave the esports community. This post was made two days after Luponwxc, a gaming company where he works, stated on their Facebook page the indefinite suspension of Torquator from his position in the company.

Esports AcadArena recently updated their Facebook page with posts raising awareness of their intolerance to sexism, abuse and harassment in the esports program. Certain events were moved to give way for raising voices and stories. 

R.A. 11313 or better known as the Safe Spaces Act was signed into law just last year. It addresses all forms of sexual harassment, recognizing that both men and women must have equality, security, and safety not only in private, but also on the streets, public spaces, online, as well as in work places and educational institutions.

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