From depression to action: Kaisaya turns harassment issue into esports advocacy

Oct 6, 2020

IT’S BEEN a tough road for Em “Kaisaya” Dangla.

While the esports community has only been aware of her issue over the past week or so, the Arena of Valor pro and esports shoutcaster has been living under its shadow for almost two years.

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    “It’s so hard, kasi dumaan nga ako sa process na I had to heal myself din. Na-depress talaga ako,” said Kaisaya in the first episode of “Beyond the Meta,” the new esports podcast from Tiebreaker Times. “And I was also seeking for professional help para maayos yung sarili ko mentally.”

    It was in early 2019 that Kaisaya went to Camp Crame to file a case against a streamer whom she alleged had leaked one of her private videos.

    She opened up to hosts Carla Lizardo and Apple David about what had happened then.

    “I just need one to two testifiers. They’re afraid din, 'cause may mga asawa sila, may mga girlfriends. Yung isa nag-agree naman, yung isa, pinag-iisipan niya nang matagal din. In the end, I thought he would say yes, but apparently he didn’t,” she recalled, almost in tears as she talked about the incident.

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    When it became clear that the case would not push through, Kaisaya forced herself to think of the positives.

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    “Binigyan ko na lang ng sarili ko ng pampalubag-loob na, if I didn’t pursue the case, at least, the two people who wronged me, at least they will learn, natakot sila from the case I wanted to pursue,” she said.

    Kaisaya continued: “That’s why during that time, di ako nag-post ng kahit ano. Dinaan ko talaga sa legal process, so at least I won’t be tarnishing their names in the eyes of the public. It’s for their protection, although ako talaga, nainis ako, di ko nabigyan ng hustisya ang sarili ko. That was almost two years naman.”

    In the time that passed, she told the podcast that she had “totally moved on.” But a stray Facebook comment from one of the parties involved convinced her to go public in a post that would rock the industry.

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    “I got triggered with this one bad thing na ginawa kasi ng isang tao involved, na ginamit nga ang case na yun, ang issue na yun, to defend himself and to parang threaten the other party,” she said of that moment. “I just find it wrong, kahit hindi ko dapat depensehan ang tao na yun.”

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    Many individuals, teams, and organizations rallied behind Kaisaya in the wake of her revelations — and she expressed her admiration to everyone who did.

    Not all comments were positive, however.

    “Sometimes, in general talaga, tina-try ko talagang IDGAF, wag pansinin. Pero sometimes pag pagod ka, di mo maiwasan na sumagot pa,” she said. “Some people might bash me, [saying] personal ng BF niyo yan, ba’t kayo nandamay [ng iba]. It’s [my] privacy na nilalabag [...] Wala silang karapatan mag-share ng ganun. Even nga, yung sinasabi nilang private messages, screenshots and all, that’s privacy getting invaded.”

    Friends have advised her to uninstall Facebook as the hurtful comments piled up and continued to affect her, but that was impossible, as the app was a vital part of her work as a member of Liyab Esports and as a shoutcaster.

    “So where do I place myself? So I just, kung minsan talaga, kaya kong i-ignore na lang. Pag may mag-comment at may nabasa akong pangit yung simula, I just ignore. Di ako nagba-block recently, because I’m letting their opinions be heard,” she said.

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    Even so, she’s now using her experience as a wakeup call for the entire industry. She wants the battle cry to transform from “Justice for Kaisaya” to “Women for Esports.”

    “[My advocacy] is for everyone na hind pa makakapagsalita or di pa nakukuha ang justice nila,” she said.

    She especially called on streamers and organizations in the industry to take up the battle cry.

    Kaisaya had earlier told Spin.ph about asking esports organizations to live up to their anti-harassment and anti-abuse stands. But now she made her call even more explicit, addressing streamers as well.

    “I hope the organizations, especially those who stood up mentioning they are anti-harassment and any criminal acts, make sure na safe yung work space ng bawat isa. Kahit saang industry 'to, mapa-physical sports o sa field kung saan ako nanggaling, which is game development,” she said. “And please, lahat sa may platform, yung mga influencers, gamitin natin ang pagka-influencer natin para maging mabuting ehemplo. We have a platform for a reason.”

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    And for those who, like her, have suffered from abuse, but still do not have the courage to speak up?

    “If tama kayo, wala kayong dapat ikatakot.”

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