Duterte urged to do more against gender-based violence
Photo shows Frankie Pangilinan, daughter of Sen. Francis Pangilinan and actress Sharon Cuneta.

Duterte urged to do more against gender-based violence

(Philstar.com) - June 28, 2020 - 2:57pm

MANILA, Philippines (Corrected 12:45 p.m., June 29) — President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks on gender-based violence seem incongruous with his track record on women's issues, musician and student Frankie Pangilinan, said over the weekend.

Pangilinan is the daughter of Sen. Francis Pangilinan and celebrity Sharon Cuneta.

In an online meeting with regional leaders during the 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit, President Rodrigo Duterte was quoted as saying: “We have to make cyberspace a safe place for women to connect, learn, and innovate. All forms of gender-based violence and abuse are abhorrent. They are wrong in the virtual world as they are in the real world. And they are never the victim’s fault but that of the perpetrator alone."

However, the chief executive, known for his bombastic rhetoric, regularly jokes about women in his speeches—once admitting to sexually assaulting a housemaid when he was a teenager. The comments are later explained away as jokes or just his style. 

RELATED: 'Misogyny keeping more women out of government'

Speaking in an interview over social media news portal "Now You Know" on Saturday evening, the senatorial daughter said that she is apprehensive about the president's response due to his history. 

"I'm still mulling it over because the truth is that he's shown us a track record of doing exactly the opposite, a continued track record of rape jokes and normalizing it. For a leader to [do that], you'd wish that he had the self-awareness if he truly believes that. An apology would not go amiss for all his previous statements," she said. 

"I'm not sure how you can find excuses for that. He's also, numerous times on the public sphere, reiterated that rape is unavoidable because there's so many beautiful women. So many insensitive comments also about shooting women. You would think it's one snide remark, but it's repeated behavior. It shows a pattern, and it can't be just a joke anymore," she added. 

"The repetitive pushing of that culture is not acceptable to me," Pangilinan said. 

'Hija ako'

Posts by official channels of the Philippine National Police that linked sexual assault to the clothing worn by victims sparked widespread discussion on social media about sexual violence against women in the Philippines, eventually culminating in the #HijaAko movement sparked by Frankie Pangilinan that saw accounts of rape and sexual violence from survivors and advocates shared on social media. 

According to the country's human rights commission, misogyny and victim-blaming are prevalent online because of a lack of government action on comments that encourage violence against women.

RELATED: CHR: Misogyny and victim blaming not protected by freedom of speech

Pangilinan herself was on the receiving end of a rape threat due to the trending movement, and the justice department has since reported that it already identified and traced the location of the man who threatened to rape the senatorial daughter.

Asked whether or not she would file a case against the social media user, Pangilinan said: "I'm still thinking about it...I think that at the end of the day, I have this choice to make where I don't file and risk my case being highlighted [but] at the same time I want to set an example and say we shouldn't tolerate this anymore [and that women should] start fighting back for their rights."

According to President Rodrigo Duterte's report to Congress on June 16, a total of 4,260 cases of violence against women and children were recorded during the community quarantine period. 

“Rape culture is real and a product of this precise line of thinking, where the behavior is normalized, particularly by men. The way anyone dresses should not be deemed as ‘opportunity’ to sexually assault them. Ever,” Pangilinan said, responding to Tulfo's Twitter post. — Franco Luna with a report from Gaea Katreena Cabico

(Editor's note: This article has been edited to remove an extraneous "said Sunday" from the second paragraph and to note that Sharon Cuneta is a celebrity.)

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