NO, MR. PRESIDENT, LURID ACCOUNTS OF SEXUAL ABUSE ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE to us in Dumaguete or anywhere else among decent people!
It has been an utterly dismaying feature from the start of the present administration to this day that the abuse of women has been joked about, bragged about or trivialized by the highest official of the land.
In a speech on land reform on December 29, there was absolutely no justification for the detailed description of his “fingering” a sleeping maid’s genitals. As victims of rape say, such insensitive and titillating descriptions constitute yet another form of abuse.
We wish to believe in our government’s good laws, gender and development policies, and the goals of social progress and ethics in society. However, the fact of such repeated presidential behavior is dismaying, and worse, the fact that no supporters of the president have shown the principles or the moral courage to distance themselves from this unacceptable behavior and instead merely respond with laughter. This contributes to a social climate that augurs badly for women’s safety and for the respect that women have struggled so long to gain.
For GWAVE, and surely among all other decent people in Dumaguete and Negros, this is no laughing matter but an alarming backward slide into sexism and misogyny that no right-thinking citizen should tolerate.
GWAVE (Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation) was established in Dumaguete City over a decade and a half ago to assist and support women and girls victims of sexual abuse including rape, sexual harassment, sexual trafficking, domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence. Legal assistance, psychosocial interventions and intensive advocacy work carried out by a committed group of women and men have been at the core of GWAVE’s efforts in all these years. (By Cecilia Hofmann)