Rape/Heinous-A A +A
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
MOST heinous of the crimes against a person is rape.
An innately violent crime, rape results in physical, psychological and emotional harm. Because of stigma, it also has adverse social effects on the victim. Rape is a violent crime not only when force is used. It is violent because the sexual act is committed against the will of the victim. A sexual assault violates a person’s bodily integrity and right to personal security. Rape is a prevalent and pervasive social ill and the trend in the country is alarming.
Records of the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that the incidence in the country last year is around one every 72 hours. The Philippines ranks high in the incidence of rape around the world.
According to the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control's 2011 International Statistics on Crime and Justice, the Philippines ranked 7th among the countries with high prevalence of rape cases. These are only the reported cases, the prevalence is actually much higher because of underreporting.
Based on the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) of 2013, 6% of women 15-49 years old have experienced sexual violence. In the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR), the prevalence is high as it is very close to the national average at 5.4 percent and 2.6 percent experienced sexual abuse in the 12 months preceding the field work of the study.
The PNP report and the NDHS 2013 findings reveal a wide gap. The prevalence as indicated by the NDHS is higher than the incidence recorded by the PNP. One reason for not reporting to the police and filing a formal complaint could be the still prevalent stigma and discrimination against rape victims. Educator Freda Adler once described rape as "the only crime where the victim becomes the accused." It could also be because the perpetrator of the crime could be a relative, a husband or a partner, or someone in a position of power like an employer or a superior at the workplace.
According to the NDHS 2013, the most commonly reported perpetrators for married women are current husband or partner (55.2 percent), former husband or partner (29.9 percent), other relative (6.1 percent) and own friend or acquaintance (3.6 percent). For never-married women, the commonly reported perpetrators are current or former boyfriend (42 percent), relative (14 percent), friend or acquaintance (11 percent) and employer or someone at work (11 percent).
It is important to note that there seems to be a correlation between the victims' level of education and vulnerability though this would need further study. College-educated women have the lowest proportions of sexual violence (4.3 percent) compared to those who receive no education (9 percent).
Most vulnerable are young people. NDHS 2013 reports 4.4 percent of Filipino youth 15 to 19 years old have experienced sexual violence and 2.5 percent have experienced it within 12 months prior to the survey. NDHS 2008 revealed 14.7 percent of the first intercourse of young girls below 15 years old was forced against their will. While the 5.1 percent of the first intercourse of those 15-19 years old was also done with coercion.
For the National Youth Commission, the situation is very alarming and reprehensible, most reprehensible.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 04, 2014.