Rape and death

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Friday, March 14, 2014


MARCH 10 was an ordinary day for me. Manic Monday as the song goes. I was busy finalizing the details of the cluster meeting for Lanao del Norte when two boyish-looking professionals came in the office to inquire where they could ask permission to distribute flyers.

From their looks, I knew they were nurses because they are still clad in their uniforms. I gladly escorted them to the office of the regional director and finally, to our division chief for administration. The blue flyer caught my attention. “Pap smear 25 percent discount in celebration of Women’s Wellness Month, a perfect reminder that it is Women’s Month.”

This year’s theme, “Juana, ang Tatag mo ay Tatag Natin sa Pagbangon at Pagsulong,” is surely very fitting since every Juana in our society today deserves to be recognized. There are many facets of being a Juana but I would like to dwell with only one picture.

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Juana number 1 is the harassed and discriminated. I just remembered watching the episode of “Maalaala mo Kaya” last week, which really disturbed me a lot aside from the fact that it became a trending topic on my Facebook account. Who would have thought that a grandmother could tolerate seeing her 11 year-old grandchild being sexually abused by the grandfather himself? Not to mention that even the younger grandchild also suffered the same disgusting experience.

In one of its studies conducted, the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that in 2012, the number of Violence Against Women cases reported to the Philippine National Police (PNP) increased by 23.3 percent from the 2011 report. The trend is upward again after it decreased in 2011. The 2012 report is so far the highest number of reported VAW cases since 1997. The trend, however, is not conclusive of a decreasing or increasing VAW incidence in the country because data are based only from what was reported to PNP.

Sadly, I had a hard time getting the data for 2013 but what was interesting to me so far is that cases of incestuous rapes only reflected 33. A quite low number considering that it is national data. Indeed, there are still many unreported incidents on incestuous rapes.

I am glad that there have been many efforts on VAWC done by the government, nongovernment organizations, academe and other private partners. The interventions provided by these institutions are surely overwhelming but then again, sometimes it takes courage and strong will to face these kinds of challenges, whether we like it or not, many women are still groping in the dark, hopeless and afraid to tell the truth.

Laurie Anderson, in her book entitled, “Speak” has left me striking words that made me reflect. It goes like this, “I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”

Now is the perfect time to ponder that while most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect, most women also fear rape and death. (Divorrah Estrada-Meneses)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 15, 2014.

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