Black Women

For Black American Womxn, There Are No Safe Spaces, Only Empty Ones

Ajah Hales
9 min readAug 24, 2021
Black womxn with braids in African print dress, back to camera, hands up towards a grey sky.
Photo by Ian Kiragu on Unsplash

Two years ago on my birthday, Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, signed the Safe Spaces Act, a framework for penalizing sexual harassment. The Technical Drafting Committee and the Philippine Commission on Women were charged with transforming that loose framework into a specific legislative code.

Five days ago, that code was released.

Written in part by Senator Risa Hontiveros, the code states that:

“gender-based streets and public spaces harassment includes: cursing, wolf-whistling, catcalling, leering and intrusive gazing, taunting, cursing, unwanted invitations, misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic, and sexist slurs, persistent unwanted comments on one’s appearance, and relentless requests for one’s personal details.”

The Safe Spaces Act attaches penalties to what I call ‘any given Tuesday.’ I try to imagine having a law like this in America, and am confronted with the inalienable truth that this type of law would not only fail Black womxn, it would actively endanger us.

Even if I could call the police on a catcaller, I wouldn’t. Calling the police while Black is a game of Russian Roulette as likely to end in my death (or his) as any form of justice.

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Ajah Hales

World Changer. Social Thinker. Business Owner. #WEOC