CHR sounds alarm at rape of children by family members

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
CHR sounds alarm at rape of children by family members
Man and child silhouette
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday voiced grave concerns about the recent spate of sexual violence against children nationwide, with several recent cases involving family members as the alleged perpetrators.

The human rights body said in a statement that the sexual abuse of children nationwide tantamounts to a "grave violation of human rights and highlights the urgent need for robust actions to protect our children and ensure justice for the victims."

That several cases involve family members is also "deeply troubling," the CHR said.

CHR cited nine recent cases that "illustrate the alarming scope and severity" of the rape of minors in the country, most of which involve family members accused of committing the crime. 

In one case, a man was arrested in Manila after allegedly raping his 14-year-old daughter for two years, who later bared that her uncle was the first to rape her in 2022.

In another incident, a man allegedly raped his niece in Calamba, Laguna, when she was 10 years old and until she turned 17. He then fled to Bicol, where he allegedly raped his partner’s three minor daughters.

Meanwhile a man in n Argao, Cebu was arrested after allegedly raping his 14-year-old daughter on multiple occasions. The child told her sibling about the incident, who informed their grandmother and reported it to the authorities.

Two other incidents took place in Marikina City and Quezon, where both suspects are accused of raping several members of their family and have since been arrested.

In one incident in Zamboanga del Norte, the "decaying corpse" of an 11-year-old girl who had been missing for days was recently found, with authorities suspecting she was raped prior to her death. Her older, 20-year-old relative later surrendered to the police, who said he admitted to killing her but denied the alleged rape.

The CHR said that these crimes against minors "should be condemned in the strongest possible terms."

The human rights body said that the sexual abuse of children at the hands of family members "compounds the trauma experienced by the victims, as they are betrayed and violated by those whom they should trust the most."

"The lifelong repercussions of such abuse extend far beyond the physical harm, often causing lasting emotional and psychological scars," the CHR said.

The CHR urged authorities to hold perpetrators fully accountable in line with the rule of law and noted the prompt action taken by the Philippine National Police and other authorities to apprehend suspects.
"We also encourage the victims and their families to speak out about these acts of abuse and violence. The Commission acknowledges that it takes immense courage to come forward, but doing so is the first step towards seeking justice and accountability," the human rights body added. 
"[The] CHR stands ready to offer assistance and support. No one should suffer in silence and together, we can break the cycle of abuse and violence against women and children," the CHR also said.

Several studies have captured the difficulty of accurately estimating the number of incest rape victims in the country due to underreporting and fears of reprisal. 

Based on available data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, from 2011 to 2016, nearly a third or around 2,770 victims out of a total of 7,418 were sexually abused by their family members.

According to the US State Department’s 2022 report on the country's human rights situation, despite the law's penalties and the government's efforts to catch perpetrators, law enforcement agencies and NGOs agreed that criminals and family members continued to use minors in the production of pornography and in cybersex activities.

RELATED: US report: Philippines still struggling to protect children from sexual abuse

Victims of sexual abuse can report cases to the CHR Citizens’ Help and Assistance Division through the following contact details:

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