On July 5, news reports of a 15-year-old girl from Ilocos Sur who was shot after filing rape charges against two policemen came out. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Archie Gamboa released orders for the dismissal of the suspects on July 6.
Now, a recent post by a police station in Laguna is gaining traction for its timely rape prevention tips. The Facebook post made by the Victoria Municipal Police Station of Laguna details ‘Iwas Rape Tips’ wherein every item mentions, “Huwag mang rape.” As of writing, it has gathered around 17,000 likes and 27,000 shares on Facebook since its publication on July 2.
Rape culture and victim blaming in the Philippines
For generations, many have latched on to the reasoning that victims get raped because of their own "carelessness" or worse, through "tempting" rapists, in particular, because of what they chose to wear. Blaming the victims instead of the actual perpetrators has been made a common practice, to the point where people grew afraid of speaking up about their experiences with assault because they'd be met with unnecessary shaming and lack of inaction towards getting justice.
Just recently, Lucban Municipal Police Station drew flak for an advisory they posted, calling women "gherlz" and telling them not to wear "short clothes" to avoid becoming targets for sex crimes. Various personalities, including Frankie Pangilinan, spoke up against the said post. Pangilinan tweets, "Stop telling girls how to dress. Teach people not to rape."
Pangilinan also notably clapped back at TV and radio host Ben Tulfo for his statement regarding victim blaming and for calling her "hija" to "belittle her point." This has since sparked the #HijaAko movement on social media which netizens used to come forward with their narratives of sexual harassment.
Cases of sexual assault during quarantine
From March 15 to April 30, the period when quarantine restrictions were first implemented in Metro Manila, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) reported around 804 incidents of gender-based violence, as per Rappler.
Data from PNP shows that 602 individuals nationwide reported experience of sexual assault from March 17 to May 23, with an average of eight individuals experiencing sexual assault daily. The data, however, is lower from reported cases done during the previous months. Despite this, groups dedicated to women’s and children’s rights warn that individuals may be more “vulnerable” to sexual abuse during quarantine restrictions but are unable to report to authorities.
Beginning March 2020, reports of harassment done by police at quarantine checkpoints surfaced on social media, detailing accounts of ‘sex for pass’ wherein certain policemen solicit sexual favors in exchange for a quarantine pass. PNP chief Police General Gamboa said that the "PNP is taking the allegations of sexual abuse seriously" and urged victims to file a complaint so that a proper investigation against alleged perpetrators may be conducted.
If you're in need of assistance to report gender-based violence, the Philippine Commission on Women provided a list of hotlines to call here.
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