On the International day for the elimination of violence against women
President Rodrigo Duterte and other men in power have repeatedly legitimized and encouraged violence against women in public speeches, made jokes of women, and attacked female opponents in misogynic ways. In one of the President’s latest statements, he discredited his female opponents as crazy and ugly. Again and again he made the rape of women a laughing matter and assured his soldiers of impunity. Some trivialize these statements and deny any meaning or consequences. But public discourse matters! These misogynic statements express a certain reality and encourage men to translate them into violent action. According to a 2017 survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) one out of four women, aged 15-49, “has experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence committed by their husband or partner.” The Filipino women’s network Gabriela counts about 15 rape cases a day that have been reported nationwide in 2018.
Bills against stiffer penalties for sexual harassment as the House Bill No. 8244 or an earlier approved bill against catcalling are important measures but only become effective with swift actions and an accessible, speedy and non-discriminatory judicial system.
Here too, discourse matters: a discourse that condemns all forms of violence against women in the strongest possible terms and questions the patriarchal system in place!
We express our solidarity to all Filipino women and men who challenge this system of violence, fight for justice and claim women’s rightful place in society!
The philippinenbüro e.V.