Reporting rape

LAW OF THE WEEK

When and how is rape committed?

Rape is committed by a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman through force, threat, or intimidation and when the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious or by means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority.

Does the delay in reporting incidents of rape bar its prosecution?

No, the victim may still pursue filing the complaint before the Office of the Prosecutor with jurisdiction of the place where the rape incidents took place. The delay in reporting the incidents does not necessarily render the complaint futile, especially when the delay is caused by threats and fear to the victim.

How can delay in reporting affect the case?

The delay in reporting will not matter as long as the complaint is filed within the period prescribed by law. In the case of People of the Philippines vs Sinoro, the Supreme Court held that:

“… It is noted that the initial reluctance of a rape victim to publicly reveal the assault on her virtue is neither unknown nor uncommon. It is quite understandable for a young girl to be hesitant or disinclined to come out in public and relate a painful and horrible experience of sexual violation. The same may be said of her mother. She is placed in the difficult predicament of deciding whether to obtain justice for her daughter or to suffer the outrage in silence, if only to protect the latter’s dignity and honor.

Delay in reporting the crime neither diminishes her credibility nor undermines her charges, particularly when the delay can be attributed to a pattern of fear instilled by the threats of one who exercises moral ascendancy over her.

Settled is the rule that a candid narration by a victim of how she was raped bears the earmarks of credibility, especially if no ill will motivates her to testify falsely against the accused. If her testimony is straightforward and unflawed by any material or significant inconsistency, it deserves full faith and credit. For it is a truism that when a woman says that she was violated, she says in effect all that is necessary to show that rape has been inflicted on her. Moreover, so long as her testimony meets the test of credibility, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof.