Sara Duterte to rape joke critics: 'What have you done to help?'
MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio has again come to the defense of her father following the backlash over his latest rape joke.
Carpio hit back at critics of President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night, August 31, while she enumerated steps of the city government to curb the incidence of rape in Davao City, the highest in the country in the second quarter of 2018, according to police.
"This positive effect of government action should not be lost in the repertoire of the President and the attacks by those who hate his guts and humor. I can truthfully say that there was action and positive effect," the Mayor said.
"And I pose this question to all who seemingly want to see Davao City fail – what have you done to help?" she added.
Carpio issued the statement as lawmakers and women's groups admonished Duterte for "victim-blaming" when he joked that the high incidence of rape in Davao City is due to the presence of "many beautiful women."
Carpio cited several interventions of the city government and its partner agencies to curb the incidence of rape.
"One of these interventions, and the most effective of which, targeted communities where children are taught about sexuality and sexual abuse, including when a touch by a family member is no longer appropriate and acceptable," she said.
Carpio said during discussions of the Davao City Peace and Order Council in 2017, it was discovered that many cases in the city involved "incestuous rape or rape by someone who has a close relationship with the victim such as a neighbor or a friend."
She said the Davao City Social Services and Development Office (CSDDO) was tasked to implement programs to address the problem.
She said the interventions led to a "significant drop" in the incidence of rape cases – from 120 in the first semester of 2017 to 95 in the same period in 2018.
Senator Risa Hontiveros on Saturday, September 1, joined other voices in condemning the Chief Executive and called out those who have defended the rape joke.
"It is very disturbing to see a President who makes jokes about rape. And to those who defend it by calling it a joke, and by telling us not to give it too much weight, I can assure you that no rape victim or survivor, no woman – since every woman is at risk in this rape culture – ever finds it funny," she said.
Malacañang has also defended the President's "humor." Presidential Spokesman Harry Harry Roque said people should not take the joke seriously, and that only people in Luzon seemed to be offended by the joke.
Hontiveros also stressed that rape "is not an act of admiration" as Duterte's joke suggested.
"It is the vilest form of violence against women. I ask President Rodrigo Duterte: is this how men admire women?" she said.
"President Duterte should stop blaming women and how we look and dress for the growing number of rape cases. Beauty doesn't cause rape, rapists do. Rape is the fault of the rapist," Hontiveros added.
Gabriel Women’s Party said Duterte sent “a very dangerous and distorted message," a "flamboyant display of misogyny, which places more Filipino women at risk of rape."
When Duterte first suffered public backlash over a rape joke involving a slain Australian missionary during the 2016 presidential campaign, Carpio revealed she was a rape victim herself but she took no offense at that joke.
Duterte had called her a "drama queen" in response to media questions on her daughter's revelation that she was a rape victim. – With a report from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com