To shame and blame

A 16-year-old girl was raped in Tondo. It was reported that the girl had been drinking with her attackers before she passed out. The suspects took videos of the rape and of the victim’s private parts. In a leaked chat group conversation, the four men were even happy and proud about what they did, police revealed.

To shame and blame

One of the suspects was apparently the girl’s friend and was the one who invited her for a drink. When she fell unconscious, she was taken to a room where she was raped by the gang who called themselves the “Tondo F***boys.”

The incident should have elicited universal condemnation of the suspects. Unfortunately, some quarters are laying blame on the girl for even agreeing to drink with the men in the first place. One social media user said the girl was stupid to not expect harm to come her way. If it were a prayer meeting she had gone to, he said, the rape might have been unexpected. But a drinking session with men should have told her what could happen.

This is not the first time a victim was shamed and blamed for what befell her. The Philippines is supposed to be at the forefront of gender equality, but many people still believe that if a woman is dressed provocatively, or if she is out by herself late at night, or if she hangs out with men, she is asking for it.

This is utter nonsense. Rape exists because some men believe they are entitled to violate a woman.

How can such views be tolerated in an ostensibly religious society? How much of this is fuelled by an administration that appears to take women’s issues lightly? 

Basic humanity dictates that no one should take advantage of another’s apparent vulnerability or weakness. But alas, millions of men still believe "No" to mean something else, and see the act of "conquering" a woman a reason for pride.

What can we do? Women must assert, unceasingly, that it is reprehensible to blame and shame rape victims. Decent men should never applaud, or cheer, or laugh when one of them makes light of the power struggle between the sexes.

Indeed we have a long way to go. The best we can hope for is to move forward, albeit slowly, rather than regress into prehistoric, chauvinistic, misogynist thinking.

Topics: Rape , Victims , misogynist , Women
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