Off to personal part-time heaven they’re headed while they denigrate innocent women, but to hell they’ll surely go.
The “Bible Study of Pastor Hokage” does not sound offensive when you first hear the name but for Filipinos, particularly millennials who have Facebook accounts, the name is known and cringe-worthy.
Straight up, this is not a faith-based group. It may have a weird religious undertone but it’s entirely different than the name suggests. “Bible Study of Pastor Hokage” is one of a growing number of Facebook groups curated by Filipinos where group members disgustingly harass women online. If you do a Facebook search with the keyword “hokage,” you’ll come across a handful of groups that make sexual harassment their everyday leisure. Collectively, there have been nearly a hundred of these filthy groups that keep returning after being reported for explicit content.
Pastor Hokage’s Rise to Reverence
I first learned about these horrifying Facebook groups last year from being a member of a “mom club”. One of the mothers discovered these “Bible Study” groups sprouting like mushrooms and asked for help to report the pervert hubs.
Caption (translation) : “This is how our secret group started: at first, we only have a few selected members then one day, I woke up and we had one million members (laughs) then after three months, people reported our page. That’s when fake (Bible Study) groups came out claiming they’re the original hokage. A lot of them may have copied us but most of them are just consisting of women posting their own photos for the sake of likes. They seemed to forget the concept of “Bible Study of Pastor Hokage” (laughs) Long live and thank you for all the legitimate members. Can I get an amen?”
Pastor Hokage’s Bible Study group has been the most famous Filipino online harassment group of all and it was finally suspended (again) just yesterday. The group boasted that it had two million members, calling themselves “pastor” and “pastora,” and a selected group of women called “Pastor Hokage Babes.” The members varied in terms of gender and many of the hokages had a slew of women consensually posting racy pictures of themselves as men ravenously feast on their sexuality.
Pastor Hokage’s (or the group administrator’s) commandments are mainly to give an “ambag” or an offering. An “ambag” is usually an intimate or naked photo or video of a woman and the Pastor encourages members to give a daily offering. Members are also instructed to comment “amen” or sometimes, “heymen” to cunningly connote “hymen,” as a sign of gratitude to the one who gives an offering. It’s their other way of saying “I’m with you.”
Caption: “Here’s my offering, brothers and sisters in faith”
There was never really an individual named Pastor Hokage. The name of the so-called religious leader can be attributed to a Japanese anime series, particularly Naruto, which Filipinos have loved for a long time. A hokage can be described as the highest and strongest ninja and this term has been recently adopted into local modern parlance. It can mean different things but to contextualize it, a hokage can be likened to the westerners’ perception of Mick Jagger.
So to say that you’re a hokage means that you’re quick and highly tactical — more like an adept ninja — in a particular “talent”, especially with women and sex. In a western context, it’s like you’re a quick-acting, sexually enticing individual. In the case of the group administrators running these “Bible Studies,” they are nothing short of vile and revolting.
Pastor Hokage’s Road to Hell
Being one of the most active Facebook users worldwide, it’s easy for Filipinos to make something famous with a few touches of the fingertips but Pastor Hokage, and other similar groups, were almost eliminated after a woman posted her experience with the distasteful group of sexual oppressors.
Czarina Ching from the Philippines’ financial district, Makati City, received messages from unknown people asking how much she charged for sexual favors. Handfuls of men were soliciting her out of the blue and it wasn’t until a friend revealed that a photo of her was posted in one of the scum Facebook groups. Someone named, Tenzen Xiao, posted the innocent woman’s photos in the group, claiming that Ching needed “help.” The post was followed by a series of personal descriptions such as her age, location and even described her as being “fresh.” She had a price tag attached to her of PhP 5,000 (nearly $100 USD) for two pops.
Caption (translated): “Fellow pastors, let’s help her. Newly graduated. Fresh. 22 years old. PhP 5,000 for two pops. Makati City. Czarina Mari N. Ching.”
Appalled, Ching took her disgust to Facebook and complained of the harassment from the entire “Bible Study” group. She posted the messages sent to her, including the original post found in the group. It quickly garnered thousands of likes and shares until Facebook removed her post. On June 30, she posted more proof of harassment after “Bible Study” group members reported her post.
Mainstream media slowly started to pick up the news and yesterday – July 3rd – one of the biggest network newscasts in the Philippines reported the existence of the vile Facebook groups.
They Still Fervently Prey
Looking back to the first time we reported the Facebook group, nearly half a year ago, it appears that the group was never fazed. They keep resurrecting themselves from the hell they come from. As much as the group administrators were persistent in creating numerous “Bible Study” groups, it was their herd of “religious people” who fervently prayed to keep the fellowship alive — in order to continue preying on women.
Caption (translated): “I made a new group. No hard-headed members allowed, no rule-breakers, I need people who constantly offer. Don’t message me privately. Reply here if you think you’re worthy of becoming a warrior. The admins will invite you to the group.”
The group members spare no one. According to a secret investigator from an anti-harassment group on Facebook, “Bible Study” groups foster sexual depravity among average Filipinas of all age — and even children. These men and women heartlessly marvel at child pornography like there’s nothing morally wrong with what they’re doing.
Caption: Are children allowed here? Comment please, thanks. How about a trade? I’ll swap my child porn.
Celebrity porn isn’t really an in-demand novelty in the groups. They post photos of innocent young women because they seek someone rarer than a public entity. These so-called pastors of sexual oppression sought ordinary Filipinas and sold the girl’s dignities like hotcakes. Pastors post innocent woman and girl’s photos, whether they’re dressed provocatively or decently, and salivate in packs as if they have no wives, sisters or mothers.
Revenge porn is popular among group members. Through their “Bible Study” group chats, they post photos of the women they once admired, loved and made love to. They do this to get even because they either got dumped or forgotten.
Suburbia of Perverts behind Monitors
While we cannot dismiss the fact that virtual perverts are growing in numbers uncontrollably, those on the street remain a persistent problem in the country. The rate of sexual crimes in the Philippines is on the increase and this should raise alarms to parents who have young daughters. Hokage groups prove that that there is no safe haven for young people, even if they remain constricted within their bedrooms. If they have a photo online — no matter how innocent it is — there is a chance that it will end up somewhere, being feasted upon by thirsty perverts who have no level of disgust with what they do. Sure, there are laws to inhibit such lewd acts but it seems the laws are insignificant and not fearful enough to halt the perverts from their habits, especially when they’re hiding behind a keyboard.
Caption: Please share, fellow pastors. Send me videos and I’ll send one to you. Just make sure it’s a child.
One of the laws they can be held accountable for is the Cybercrime Prevention Act wherein, as stated in the decree, contents related to cybersex and child pornography are punishable by law. To further define cybersex, the law says it’s “the willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.”
These people behind “Bible Study” groups hide behind fake faces and make bogus Facebook accounts to escape any litigation or banning when things go wrong. Unfortunately, some people are just plain thick-skinned and boast loud and proud that they are a member of these horrendous groups. Of course, they’re brave because they do it online; all Internet cowboys are brave online. Laws in the Philippines, regarding these kinds of malicious degradation, have not yet been fully implemented because sadly, it’s customary in the country to keep silent when a man harasses a woman. Still, it’s not too late to rise against this kind of sexual oppression.
Maybe it’s time to teach our girls to speak up when they get sexually attacked. Conversely, let’s teach our boys too — and let’s start with instilling values that promote equality and deference. It’s about DAMN time that we teach young men to be respectful as much as we teach young women on how to become feminists.
For those with us, let’s keep on reporting these abhorrent groups. They don’t stop, sure, but let’s show them they’re riding with their own devils and not salvation.
Let’s stop them.
Let’s keep them accountable.
Let’s jail them, if possible.
If you suspect any new group, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Mikaela Sarthou
Mikaela Sarthou is a journalism degree holder from a university in Espana, Manila. She is a betrothed woman to an American citizen but believes in no other dream but the “Philippine dream,” because it’s where her family is. This twenty-something mom also adores the word boundless and hopes to be boundless someday.