Some news for Women’s Month, huh? According to CNN’s latest report, from January to October 2018, there are 7,037 reported rape cases nationwide. It means someone is raped every hour in this country alone.
To defend rape victims, our country has the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, which is an obvious necessity. But the Philippine Commission on Women Chairperson Rhodora Masilang-Bucoy says what we’re all thinking—this law needs some revisions ASAP.
The Anti-Rape Law of 1997 states that “rape is committed when a person has forced, threatened or intimidated a woman to have sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual assault.” But in all honesty, the mere act of a person not giving their consent plays a big role in rape or sexual assaults.
“‘Pag nagsabi ang babaeng ‘no,’ no ‘yon at hindi na kailangan hanapin na tumakbo siya or napunit siya or may nagdugo ganyan ‘yung struggle ‘no. Because usually when that happens, the women just freeze and just don’t know what to do,” PCW Executive Director Emmeline Versoza said during a press briefing this Tuesday.
“There are also provisions on the forgiveness clause (that we want to change) because current Anti-Rape Law, RA 8353, enclosed marital rape. If you are married and your husband wants to have sex and you don’t want to, he cannot force himself on you.”
In hindsight, we do have existing laws to protect our women. The real question here is: Are these existing laws enough? We have a President who thinks casually spewing rape jokes is a non-issue. And we all know that’s where it starts. When we normalize rape culture like our president, we help increase the numbers.
Let’s look at PUA Academy as an example. Based on our interview with the victims, all of them are still seeking justice, while this misogynistic institution remains intact and free of criminal offense. This just shows how broken our system truly is.
By searching “rape” on Inquirer.net, it leads you to reported rape cases that are merely days apart. One is a report of a 9-year-old child getting abducted by his rapist in Cainta from last week, while a tourist in Cebu was raped by a motorcycle taxi driver last Sunday. It shows how frequent the act of rape is in this nation.
Read more: No, Scout is not affiliated with PUA Academy
What more about the victims we never read about? Do we stop and think about what happens to these unheard voices?
This report is a wake-up call for everyone including lawmakers, civilians, and activists. We need to move from awareness and act for safer spaces available to victims. Let’s not have innocent people become a part of the statistics.
Here are some institutions where you can reach out and ask how you can be of service:
Philippine Commission on Women
(02) 735 4767
Gabriela: A National Alliance of Women
(02) 374 3452
If you know about any other organization, contact us at [email protected]
Art by Nika Arreola