Editorial: No rape is justifiable

It is never a woman’s fault to get raped, the Philippine Commission on Women, a government body for gender equality and women’s empowerment said in a statement released after the controversial issue on the rise of rape cases.

“A woman’s body, her appearance, or her clothes are not invitations for rape or any form of sexual violence … Women are raped because their bodies are viewed as sexual conquests and objects, that can be owned and abused by men – a mindset which stems from the unequal power relations between men and women.”

It added that “as long as there are people and institutions that trivialize rape, normalize sexual violence, embolden perpetrators, and put the blame on women, rape culture will continue to persist. Rape is a crime and a human rights violation. No rape is justifiable.”

PCW said that rape is one of the most prevalent forms of violence against women in the Philippines, ranking third (13.1%) of the total reported VAW cases in the country from 1999 to 2009. This figure might be a little outdated but this still is not a true representation of the problem because the cultural and social stigma of rape prevents women from reporting what happened to them to the authorities.

Republic Act No. 8353, known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, expanded the definition of the crime of rape and re-classified it as crime against persons. This means that as crime against persons, “anyone who has knowledge of the crime may file a case on the victim’s behalf. Prosecution continues even if the victim drops the case or pardons the offender.”

In 2017, the Center for Women Resources reported that, based on the 2016 PNP data, 74 percent of the reported 9,943 rape cases are committed against children.

“Rape is a crime and it is not something that should be used to reaffirm the value of women. Women and children are raped because there are rapists, not because they invited people to rape them,” CWR executive director Jojo Guan said.

Instead of reducing the issue into a word war, the fact that it is now brought into the light of day should compel government institutions to study and seek ways to stop the abuse, especially in the homes where the children are most vulnerable.

Posted in Opinion, Uncategorized