CHR to Duterte: Be more considerate, stop rape jokes

Jodesz Gavilan
CHR to Duterte: Be more considerate, stop rape jokes
The Commission on Human Rights says statements inciting violence against women are a cause for concern given that they come from the most powerful person in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday, July 19, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to be more considerate regarding statements that may pave the way for more discrimination.

This reminder came after Duterte yet again delivered a rape remark – his second for 2017 alone.  

“We urge the President to be more circumspect in his statements, especially with how women are framed, in public conversations,” it said in a statement. “It runs counter to the interest of the common good and when left unchecked, such jokes perpetuate discrimination and inequality.” 

Duterte, before Filipino diplomats in Davao City on Friday, July 14, said he would congratulate a rapist who could carry out the crime even knowing he would die. 

“What I don’t like are kids (being raped). You can mess with, maybe Miss Universe. Maybe I will even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know you are going to die,” he said.

Malacañang, however, was quick to dismiss criticisms, saying that the “masses get him.” 

Coming from most powerful person in PH 

This came not long after he got widely criticized over a rape joke he delivered before military troops in Iligan City during the height of the Marawi clashes. 

CHR, however, said that statements like this inciting violence against women are still grounds for concern considering that the remark was uttered by “someone who holds the most powerful position in the country. “  

“Even in the context of a joke, the statement is a step-back to the advancement of human rights, particularly for women,” it said. 

“What the remark does is to normalize the perspective of women as objects of ridicule, as well as the prejudice against women, which we should all address instead of tolerate.”

In May 2016, CHR released a resolution stating that Duterte violated the Magna Carta for Women when he said a controversial statement regarding a murdered Australian rape victim.

Duterte, then president-elect, called CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon an “idiot”who was “nitpicking.”

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.