I saw Facebook posts openly sharing that they too have been raped, but are not affected by Duterte's joke. They don't realize that their statement just negated the silent, painful struggle of all other rape survivors.
Well and good for them that they can share their experience, even going as far as defending someone who perpetuates rape culture. It is heartbreaking to think how their supposed bravery could impinge on the determination of other victims to speak out against their abusers.
Duterte's daughter Sara leads those victims defending the abuser. True to form, the abuser further abuses the abused. Duterte silenced his daughter, relegating her real horrid experience to typical female hysteria.
Duterte apologists look away from what they know isn't right. Regardless of gender, they ignore what holds as universal truth – respect – all in the name of change.
As one of his defenders said, Duterte is like her "father" who is decidedly chauvinist but is a fierce and loving protector.
The issue of citizens defending Duterte is similar to the battered woman syndrome where the partner tries to protect her abuser. Filipinos have experienced abuse for centuries – from our former colonizers to our current corrupt government officials.
We've accepted sexism, rape culture, and patriarchy as the norm so much so that we don't have second thoughts voting for a misogynist candidate.
I am not for oligarchs. I am not for crooks. I am not for newbies using the woman card to further her interests. I am certainly not for misogynists. But I concede that the clamor for Duterte is loud and clear.
The defenders see him as the "savior, messiah, and knight in shining armor." They wait for change through him. They keep insisting change will only be through this person.
As cliché as it sounds, doesn't change come from within one's self? The late Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror should be listened to more often.
This isn't just for me, but more so for children who will grow up under his stead if he wins.
We learn what we are given growing up. With Duterte at the helm, we are allowing boys and girls to hear and see a womanizer and a sexist to be forgiven for his woman-shaming ways, just because he has done good for the majority in Davao.
Is it okay if someone like Duterte marries your daughter? Is it all right if your son acts and talks like him? Would it be fine if your children make fun of those who are disabled or to use derogatory terms? Is it fine for you to watch your daughter to live and suffer under a philandering husband? Is it okay if your daughter cries rape and be shut down? Would it be fine if your sons disregard girls as merely objects or for them to see other people as dispensable?
I believe the leaders we choose are a representation of who we are ourselves.
Although in the end, despite himself, Duterte is the hero.
I have two young daughters who are both less than two years old. They are named after Philippine goddesses – protector of women, defender of mankind, and goddess of hardworking laborers.
I can only hope my children will grow up as empowered as their namesakes. I hope they can do and be anything and contribute to a democratic society, despite this society. – Rappler.com
Nikki Luna is an artist, feminist and founder of StartArt a non profit providing art workshops to women and youth victims of human rights violations. A UP Fine Arts graduate, she took her art residency at the Cooper Union school of Art in New York. She has mounted several exhibitions in local and international galleries and museums representing the Philippines. Her visual discourse revolves around women's issues. Currently she is studying in depth her MA in women and development studies in UP. Follow her on Twitter @nikkiluna.