MANILA -- Muslim women scholars denounce on Saturday the brutal rape of a 21-year-old volunteer nurse by six men in South Upi, Maguindanao as the victim tries to recuperate from paralyzing injuries she sustained in the attack.

The Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy and Noor-us Salam, a national network of Muslim women religious scholars and peace advocates, also batted for a thorough investigation on the case.

Police have already filed rape charges against the arrested suspects with Malacañang denying on Friday that it has neglected the issue as claimed by the Philippine Nurses Association.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is in Cotabato City to personally attend the case under the Task Force Florence following instructions from President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“We express our serious concern over the alarming rise in the number and incidence of violence against women. We believe that respect for the rights of women is a fundamental step in moving forward peace and development goals,” the groups said.

Data from the Philippine National Police showed a six-percent increase of rape cases in the first half of the year at 1,375, which translates to an average of eight rape cases daily or one in every three hours. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)