PCW Statement On Threats of Rape and Sexual Violence

The Philippine Commission on Women strongly condemns rape threats and “normalization of rape” hurled at women and girls. Such acts propagate the rape culture, which is unacceptable.

In one incident which has gone viral in social media, a man told Ms. Frankie Pangilinan, “Pasalamat ka iha, kung ang edad ko 12 years old pataas, magtago ka na sa tatay mong senador Kikong Matsing Pangilinan, dahil hahanapin kita para gahasain. Tapos sisihin mo tatay mo, dahil hindi ako makukulong.” Frankie has a significant number of social media followers and is vocal about her opinions, including on the issue of victim blaming. We commend her for taking such a strong position against victim blaming and misogynist remarks coming no less from a media practitioner.

In another incident, a teaching personnel from a known university implied that a female senator should be put into prison and sexually attacked by inmates to change her mindset about rape. Said teaching personnel posted on social media: “I recommend that she teach the prisoners in Bilibid prison not to rape. Closed-door session.”

These are not only disgusting, but also alarming and degrading. While there is public outcry on these statements against known personalities, there are women and girls who face similar situations but cannot fight back as they do not have the same power and influence as popular public figures. But the fact that such threats happen even to known personalities only prove the realities about rape, and debunks the myths surrounding this grave crime.

Power relations rather than sexual desire

Rape is not merely about sexual desire, it is about power dynamics; it is not about “pagnanasa” but about “pagsasamantala at pang-aabuso”.

Absorbed by their false sense of entitlement and presumption of authority (e.g. male over female, a dominant group over cultural minorities, adult over a child), perpetrators of rape find satisfaction in wielding power and control over the victim through sexual violence. They abuse their authority to take advantage of those whom they perceive as “weaker”. That is why even young children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities are raped.

This power play also results in rape being used to silence opposition. Threats of rape are hurled at those who dissent to invalidate their voices and impose control. Acts of rape are also committed as a weapon of war, wherein the rape of women and children of the vanquished territories is done to get even and prove superiority and power.

In the case of the young Pangilinan, the writer not only invalidates her opinion as a young woman, it is also directed as an attack on her father, Senator Francis Pangilinan who was a staunch supporter of the Juvenile Justice Law; hence the comment “Tapos sisihin mo tatay mo, dahil hindi ako makukulong”.

The myth that people are raped because they asked for it or due to the way they look, dress, or behave has repeatedly been busted, but continue to spread because of people who choose to justify the acts of the criminal thus enabling the rape culture to flourish.

Rape and threats of it, can happen to anyone as long as there is a perpetrator who desires to dominate. Whether a woman wears full or skimpy clothes, whether she is drunk or sober, whether it is day or night, whether she is young or old, whether she is “beautiful” or not in the eyes of the abuser, she can be raped.

The PCW firmly posits that using rape and sexual violence as a tool to attack a person or prove a point is downright irrational, unsound, and violative of human rights.

We reiterate that rape is a serious crime. It should not be taken lightly and NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, has the right to use it as a threat or to wish it upon others. Rape has no place in a civilized society.

 

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