Sexual Harassment of a Minor in Fitness First SM Fairview
Disclaimer: I won’t gain anything from posting this. I have nothing against Fitness First and I don’t even post news on my blog. However, this happened to a dear friend and in a mall that I frequent at that (I live 5 minutes away from SM Fairview)! THIS MADE ME SICK!!! I’d like to thank my friend for allowing me to share this here as he believes PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS.
The identity of the victim will remain anonymous. He posted this story on his Facebook account and I’m merely translating it.
Sexual Harassment Does Not Only happen To Women
Last week, I joined Fitness First here in Fairview, with the hopes of losing my weight. The monthly dues included the use of the lockers, showers, sauna and steam room.
On my first day, I checked out the locker room with the manager and I was really shocked by the naked people randomly walking around! Yes, I expected them to be naked since it’s a men’s locker room but they were literally in the nude, such that I could see their private parts. It made me very uncomfortable but eventually, I got used to it.
After working out, people can go to the steam room or the sauna to relax their muscles. The steam room was under maintenance that week so I just stayed in the sauna. People normally only wear briefs or loose towels, hence, they’re topless. Again, it made me feel uncomfortable but I became accustomed to it as well.
Last Thursday, October 20, 2011, the steam room was already fixed and I gave it a try. I was the first one to go in but it was really hot like an oven inside. When I went out, I saw two men walking towards me – one fair skinned and the other, dark-skinned. The dark-skinned man asked, “is it really hot inside?” to which I replied, “yes”. The fair-skinned man said, “let’s try it” and went inside. He went out eventually since it really was scorching. The darker man said, “hold on, I’ll call a personnel” and then he left, came back again and adjusted the temperature. “Come on, check again if the heat is bearable now”, he told us.
The three of us went inside. I sat at the right side and the fairer guy faced the door while the other man sat to his left. In other words, we were all facing each other. After three minutes, the fair-skinned man went out, saying he couldn’t take the heat anymore. The darker man and I were left in the steam room. He asked me, “how long have you been going to this gym?” “About a week”, I replied. He asked again, “where do you study?” I told him I was studying in UST just so he wouldn’t ask why I had to stop going to school.
“You know, I was fat like you before”, he said “my belly was really big. Just do RPM (stationary bike) and Lose It (group exercise)”. He also shared other ways on how to lose weight. I was just smiling since he was friendly.
image courtesy of everythinginbudget.com
He asked me, “how old are you?” I told him I was 18 because the Fitness First management said I should tell people I’m 18 if they ask. Then he whispered something like “Good enough…” but I wasn’t sure so I came closer to hear what he was saying. “Sorry?”, I asked, then he touched my arm. “My arms were that big, too”, he uttered. All of a sudden his grasp got tighter and he said “kiss me.” I was really shocked! I was frozen and didn’t know what to do. Then he started kissing me. He grabbed my hand and forced me to touch his penis. “Put it inside your mouth”, he demanded. I was shaking with fear. Then we heard someone walking outside. “STAY THERE. DO NOT MOVE”. He looked at me as if he was going to kill me. Because I was filled with fear, I just sat by the corner and broke down.
When I felt like passing out because of the heat, I went out. He was still there. The man threatened me, “don’t you dare say a word.” He looked at me with evil eyes again before hurriedly leaving the locker room.
All that I wanted to do was get out of there, go home and hug my mother. I rushed out and just took a trike home because I was so scared. I cried when I saw my mom and told her everything that happened. She went to SM Fairview right away.
Earlier today, we went to Fitness First to confirm if that man is a member. It was confirmed. According to his Fitness First profile, he is a 30 year old high school teacher at the Camarin Public High School. A TEACHER. Apparently, I wasn’t the first person who complained of sexual harassment against him. He has “touched” others before but I am the only minor so it’s quite serious.
I am sharing this with you so you all would know about my horrible experience. And that you’d be aware. At first, I was really scared but I have found courage now. Guys, please be vigilant all the time so you won’t have to go through what I suffered, especially you girls! As much as possible be with someone that you know. Perhaps they were right, we ought to “not talk to strangers”. So please don’t. And always pray. God will save us. Please tell your other friends about this so they will be aware, too.
Today, my friend was made to face his assualter although I’m not quite sure if they filed a case or if the man was banned. He told the Fitness First manager that he will make his story public and the manager was okay with that (you cannot stop him anyway, dude).
My thoughts? WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN??? I didn’t know minors were allowed to work out in gyms without being accompanied by an adult! Furthermore, WHY WOULD YOU MAKE YOUR CLIENTS LIE ABOUT THEIR AGE?!?! I don’t even. And if there had been numerous complaints against the man who is sexually harassing people in your gym before, WHY THE HELL WAS HE NOT BANNED? You still had to wait for a minor to be attacked?
And to my friend, we go your back, dear! Please stop going to the gym for now and just do sports if you’d like to lose weight. I know it’s been a traumatic experience for you. I can only give you a hug… Stay strong!
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