[Dash of SAS]: The D joke
My social media feed is spewing out post after post of venom about Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s rape “joke”.
Whether from a stand point of castigating him or defending him, the tone of the commentary is so vile that you can’t help but wince while reading it, so contemptuous that you can feel the full force of words as if they were slapped onto a page.
The onslaught of rage was interrupted by posts expressing another kind of emotion: fear.
One netizen, wrote: “The support that has been shown to Duterte throughout all of this has been so mind-numbingly overwhelming that I cannot help but feel that I live in a country where it is impossible for me to feel safe if I leave my house. Today more than ever I realize just how many people are out there to cause this violence.”
Then other posts began to appear, those of women disclosing that they were once raped.
Some relived their trauma, disclosing their attack with much emotion and great detail.
Those who had not experienced rape themselves but knew others who shared similar stories.
Giney Villar, a gender rights activist, wrote:
"I cannot finish the video because I personally know so many women who have been raped. A young girl by her grandfather, uncle, and cousins. A maid by her employer's son. A baby who died in a hospital, her vagina so swollen it was the size of a cauliflower. A DEAD neighbor, caught by her brothers, being violated by the mortician.
"And my sensitive and gentle male friends. Brilliant young man gang-raped by his classmates at the back of the school building. A third grader harassed by a teacher while being tutored. A high school freshman dragged from inside the school chapel, the only 'safe' place from the school bullies, and forced to give head by a 'brother'.
"Hands thrust inside pants, rough hands rubbing their fragile penises to give the boys a 'thrill'. Their kicking and screaming said otherwise. They were laughed at by people around them. Even the guards who were supposed to protect them. It was just in the spirit of 'fun'."
Actor and Director of One Billion Rising, Monique Wilson wrote an open letter detailing the experience of Lola Narcisa, one of the thousands of women taken hostage as sex slaves by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II.
"In silence for 50 years. Speaking out and fighting for justice for nearly 23 years now. She has carried this all her life, and still no justice.
She is one of the lucky ones. The others have lost their minds, and families who shunned them. Many lost organs, and the ability to bear children from so many rapes.”
Now in her 80s, many of Lola Narcisa’s contemporaries have died, their pleas for justice ignored.
Is this what we have come to?
Women have to come forward and recount their harrowing experience for us to understand the extreme physical, emotional and psychological violence of rape? (READ: The streets that haunt Filipino women)
We have to draw on the experience of others to remind each other what empathy looks like?
Why does an objection to joking about a deplorable act of sexual violence even have to be explained?
According to the United Nations Children's Fund, one in 4 Filipino children have reportedly suffered from sexual violence in the home, school or community. Boys are twice as likely to experience violence across all forms and in all settings. (READ: Busting myths on sexual abuse: Who's to blame?)
Most often, the perpetrator is someone they know or someone they are related to, but almost always it is someone they trust.
Sorry not sorry
As I’m writing this, my feed is filling up once more with news about the so-called apology that Mayor Duterte has issued. He is sorry, he didn’t mean it, his mouth got the best of him because he was angry. We should all move on now, there’s nothing to see. (READ: Duterte: Not sorry for rape remark, that's how I speak)
But it is not that simple.
You see what Duterte said is something that we have all heard before.
Loaded comments and lecherous looks are passed off as a “joke”. We laugh because we are expected to. It seems better than the alternative – called out for being uptight or dumb for not getting it.
It’s all meant to be a harmless joke until it isn’t. Until the silent smile is taken as compliance.
Sometimes an apology is offered but to put on a public display of bestowed benevolence.
Leader wanted, savior needed
"Entrusting one’s fate to a Great Leader is tempting because it spares us the burden of thinking for ourselves. For democracy to work, citizens have to pay some amount of attention, be reasonably well informed about key issues, and be willing to hold politicians genuinely accountable for success and failure. By contrast, pinning our hopes on a Great Leader allows us to check our own judgment at the door: all we have to do is trust in the Leader’s alleged wisdom and all will be well."
We are all tired of being ignored and dismissed by public officials that we want so much to trust and believe those who have our welfare at heart. We are frustrated and hurt that our daily hardships are downplayed as trivial. We are tired of feeling inconsequential in our own country.
The vitriol, the mudslinging and sheer rage that is thrown around online is the summation of the pent-up anger that has been simmering inside of us for far too long.
We all want change. We all want a genuine leader. But why is this shared aspiration tearing us apart instead of bringing us together?
What we are really looking for is a savior. Duterte’s swashbuckling ways and gutter language certainly make him look the part. He throws in some nice things, too. He’s ready to clean up the country and put his life on the line for me and even die for me to do it.
It is everything we have longed to hear.
I’m sure in his own way Duterte means it. I’m sure his track record speaks volumes.
But I can’t find it in myself to believe him. I can’t help but think that it’s all one big joke to him. – Rappler.com