The hypocrisy surrounding Philippine rape culture & Rody Duterte
The recent brouhaha over Duterte’s joke about rape has seemingly “shaken” a nation. Many people were quick to condemn the tasteless cheap swipe at a poor rape victim. Horrified and indignant citizens came out of the woodwork to directly condemn the act of joking, yet, and I ask this so bluntly, if we truly condemn the act as we say, why is it so difficult for a victim in the Philippines to come out in the open and say, “I was raped”?
There are laws in the country against sexual harassment, but I have never seen a person going to jail for cat calling a woman. I have personally experienced being gawked and gaped upon because I chose to wear a short dress. If we are truly against rape and any acts that may lead towards it, why is it my fault if I got negative attention because of the clothes that I chose to wear? I have to deal with the fact of life, that if I choose to wear certain clothes, I will surely be asking for it and it would be up to me if I can take all the lewd comments hurled my way. It is my fault after all. It mystifies me that we can tolerate behavior like this and turn a blind eye to such acts, but, in the same breath condemn a rape joke.
Why? Is it because it is the fashionable thing to do? Is it the in thing now to be politically correct in public during political sorties and in social media? Is this why the same people who have cat called, made funny degrading sexist remarks, who made fun of people in a sexual context, who undressed others in their heads in their private lives at one point or another need to join the beaten bandwagon to cry foul on a rape joke which was said in public? Is this why the same politicians who wrote the laws against sexual harassment and rape, the very same breed of people who turn a blind eye on the implementation of these laws, now cry bloody murder against another fellow who made the mistake of (insert *gasp* here) making a rape joke in public?
Rape is not funny. It alters the lives of victims and to make a joke out of it is surely condemnable but what I cannot tolerate is the message that is being sent here. You can joke about rape, sexual harassment and the like, but never ever do it onstage. It is all about political correctness on the stage, never mind the full implementation of laws for the protection of women. Never mind that, we can make a joke about that. Heck we can even throw a lewd joke toward a short skirted woman, but we should never do it onstage because that’s not politically correct.
If what I’m saying does not ring a bell. Ask yourself again, Why is it so difficult for a rape victim to come out and say she or he was raped in Philippine setting? Hell, why is an employee scared to say that they were sexually harassed by their superiors? If we truly condemn these acts, why do victims go through great shame just to fight for themselves? If our society truly condemns sexual harassment and rape, then it would have made complaining easy and there would have been no noted cases of backlash against the victim, but sadly until now, many victims do not tell their stories because of the backlash that might befall them. Where is our righteous indignation on that matter? The same righyteous indignation we felt when we heard about the “horrifying rape joke of a presidentiable”?
My dear friends, the truth is that we are still living in a backward environment, where sadly, the oppressor, the harasser, the rapist might and can still be called a victim.
Rody Duterte is not politically correct. He joked about rape. It is wrong. (Please take note of the period) but, I would rather have someone who JOKES about rape and strictly implements rules against the harassment of women. I would rather have a leader who has a really twisted sense of humor, tasteless and crass as others might call it, but who fully understands that actual violence against women and children should never be tolerated and whether you believe in the myth of Davao or not, there are laws that are followed here to fully protect the rights of women and children. We even have laws (*shudder*) that protect anyone from discrimination, regardless of age, gender, or sexual preference. Yes, the same JOKER whom you condemn, implements these laws with a certain obsessive compulsiveness rarely seen in other politicians.
In a perfect world, I would vote for a saint. In a perfect society, I would vote for someone who does not cheat, steal, lie, kill or curse, either in public or in their private lives. Show me a Philippine politician who has all these attributes and I will rabidly campaign for such a person, but as such person does NOT EXIST, what do we do next? Do we go for the well perfumed, manicured, smooth politicians who write laws against sexual harassment but FAIL to implement them? Do we again go for those who promise the moon and stars to us but in reality turns a blind eye to the mind boggling amounts of shabu, heroine and cocaine being cooked inside the Philippine prisons no less? Do we still go for the smart rhetorics of someone who pretends to be so poor that his mother could not afford medicines but in reality lives in a mansion? OR do we go for a crass, filthy, slightly out of control, slightly deranged, politically incorrect mayor from the south who has balls up to his hairline and who has the uncanny ability & mad skills to unify ALL classes of Filipinos: from the left to the right, from the poor, the middle class, the rich and the filthy rich? You know that person. Rody Duterte? Oh, He is the one who jokes about rape but never makes a joke about punishing the oppressors.
Jokes are meant to be funny, but when one fails to deliver the punchline, it ceases to be funny and it becomes painful. When election comes, I hope we do not make a joke out of ourselves by choosing to be politically correct while remaining to be the biggest joke of all.
God Bless the Philippines.