Press Release
January 11, 2019


*Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on President Duterte's remark that rape comes with territory for OFWs

Mr. President, stop normalizing and trivializing rape. There is nothing normal about the culture of rape. It is one of the worst kinds of abuses to which a person can be subjected. And while rape and other forms of sexual abuse are gruesome realities faced by a lot of our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), by saying that rape "comes with the territory" and is "part of the culture" of working abroad, President Rodrigo Duterte just admitted that he is powerless to protect our OFWs. So much for "tapang at malasakit." It is both a surrender to and state promotion of the rape culture.

Of course, the President's apologists, acting as "Duterpreters," will say that he is simply engaging in colorful language. Rape jokes and the trivialization of sexual abuse are not soundbites. They are not creative attempts at word play. They are conscious efforts to weaponize language as a medium in which sexism, gender discrimination and violence against women are committed and replicated.

Sabi nila dapat masanay na tayo sa pananalita ng Pangulo. Sorry, but I refuse to get used to it. So should the public. We should continue to push back. The moment we trivialize violence against women and misogyny is the time we become not only fence-sitters to these vile evils but also complicit in their horrific culture.

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