So the president has made a rape joke. Again. Now it is wrong for a number of reasons. The first, and most obvious, this is a blatant representation of misogyny. By pinching rape on the beauty of women, he might think that he is complimenting, while the fact was just another form of guilt. Also, rape jokes are NEVER okay. They are never funny and he, of all people, should not make one. As someone to whom many men look up, his actions have a big effect on it perpetuate rape culture in our country. We have already established this, as this is not the first time that he has drawn this trick. But I believe there is more to this particular joke.
I think the statement is also an indication of how biased our president is. Fact: Pres. Duterte loves his hometown. It has been a constant source of pride for him. It was one of the things that gave him the presidency: he relied on the reasoning that if he can make Davao this peaceful place, he can also do it for the whole country. But what does it say when his beloved house has the largest number of rape cases? That is not really a source of pride, right? Wrong. According to the president this could be. Because it means that they have the greatest number of beautiful people. Now I have previous experience in the marketing industry and one of the most important things I learned was the importance of words. If you have negative news, how can you downplay it so that you no longer hear your customer or your bosses? First, you find a way to turn it around and make it look positive. Language is very crucial. Through his remarks, Pres. Duterte assured Davao's people that the statistics were not a reflection of leadership, or anything like that, but rather a reflection of how beautiful their wives are. Rape is an ugly word, but beautiful? He turned it around and raped something positive. Moreover, he is biased in terms of leadership. I mean, imagine that he would discover that there were cases of high rape in Naga City, for example. We all know that he would have tied the problem to the type of leadership; no credit to the beautiful women in the city. But no matter how he does it, the truth is that the data simply reveal that Davao has the largest number of rapists ––no beautiful women. Do what you want with that fact, that is the only real inference given the data.
I also believe that the comment shows that Pres. Duterte thinks that rape is literally a joke. Instead of saying "okay, this is disappointing, we need to address this concern," he goes off and jokes about it. I mean, only we have that kind of leadership where something as serious as rape is treated as a joke. We all know that if he would give a report on drug issues instead of rape cases, he would have made a big statement about firing someone. Maybe someone was fired on the spot, even. Why? Because he thinks that the main cause of our problem is that a country is drug-related; rape on the other hand is related to some small theft. He probably does not believe in rape; thinks that it is something that women have great difficulty with–and I think that is the real cause of our problem as a nation. Apart from ourselves, we have some wrong values, and we are also largely misunderstood by our leaders. While some countries have already accepted the importance of the voice of women to make progress, we have a president who openly declares that he would like to go down as long as the next woman in the queue is not his successor.
Art by Marian Hukom
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