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No need for rape victims to despair

/ 12:19 AM May 26, 2017

The Supreme Court should be ashamed of its recent rape decisions,”  remonstrated Rebecka Koziomtzis and Bryan Tiojanco in their joint commentary (“Supreme Court rape myths violate women’s rights,” Opinion, 5/19/17), referring to the metric or myth by which the high court was said to have viewed the rape cases.

Abhorrent to both Koziomtzis and Tiojanco was the prevalent thinking that the slightest hint of consent on the part of the woman was enough to trash the charge. The absence of evidence that the victim “resisted in that whole time” would be “eloquent proof of her consent.” The rapist would enjoy the full benefit of the doubt.

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It is an egregiously false criterion, posited the duo who are taking up graduate studies in law abroad. There should not be a per se “assumption” that the woman gives her consent the moment she stops “physically resist(ing) the unwanted sexual conduct.” For one thing, there is that “state called ‘frozen fright’… (when) physical resistance is beyond the conscious control of rape victims.”

They are baffled why the Supreme Court still adheres to an antiquated view. It adds fillip to the exhortation of a famous foreign affairs secretary who once infamously uttered, “If the rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it!”

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Let’s rewind to some years back:  A quadriplegic (one who is paralyzed and unable to use both arms and legs) was convicted of rape, not by a “kangaroo court” in some hinterland, but by a legitimate trial court in this land. On appeal, the life sentence was affirmed (“Judicial process a circus,” [Ramon Tulfo] Metro, 10/22/15). How that decision was ever arrived at has got to be a subject meriting the top of the list of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”  And with no more prospect of finding any other judicial relief,  plea for executive pardon was the last resort. Fortunately, former president Gloria M. Arroyo (a nonlawyer) had the common sense to see the utter absurdity of that conviction and set the man free.

Thus, it may be a source of comfort to the two pundits that the justice system in this country is not all that hung up on Jurassic standards when it comes to rape cases. The one cited by columnist Ramon Tulfo ad infinitum was classic in its unflinching disbelief that a “rape victim” could lie through her teeth.  It trumped all rape cases in this jurisdiction where even if the woman was evidently the aggressor, she got to keep all the benefit of the doubt and sent a man to life in jail—for just lying down and trying to struggle perhaps against a full-blown assault.

And there could be a lot of variations on that confusing theme, so the tandem writers—and rape victims (in quotation marks or not)—need not despair.

STEPHEN L. MONSANTO,

Monsanto Law Office,

Loyola Heights, Quezon City,

[email protected]

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TAGS: Bryan Tiojanco, Inquirer letters, Inquirer Opinion, Rape, Rape Victims, Rebecka Koziomtzis, Stephen L. Monsanto, women's rights
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