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Human Face

Flashing his manhood, so to speak

/ 05:14 AM January 03, 2019

The EveryWoman page on Facebook is described as “a safe and open channel of expression for empowered women and youth. It also serves as a platform to inform and educate. It seeks to empower like-minded women and youth to defend democratic political space and uphold women’s rights.” It has 108,570 followers.

Several hours ago before I sat down to write this column piece, EveryWoman issued a statement on President Duterte’s confessing publicly about what he did to his family’s housemaid when he was a schoolboy, and for which he later went to confession to a priest. In a recent speech. he regaled his titillated listeners with the how of it, flashing his (in-the-cusp-of-) manhood story, so to speak. (Flashers have castration anxiety, Freudian psychoanalysts seem to think.)

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Excerpts from EveryWoman: “Jesus was born with the gospel promise of life abundant for all, but most especially for the last, the least and the lost. It is no wonder that the word was made flesh among the stench of goats and the braying of sheep. And as we greet the new year, let us remember that Christmas is climax to the year that ushers in the new.

“But Rodrigo Duterte caps the year with a tale as old as time: of man’s inhumanity to woman, of sexual violence so commonplace and yet so stunning, of fingering the housemaid ‘under her panty’ not once but twice, and rushing to the toilet not once but twice, for sexual release.

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“Like the unschooled and unskilled (mostly) youthful male EJK (extrajudicial killing) victims, housemaids or domestic helpers belong to the margins of society (“laylayan ng lipunan” as Vice President Leni Robredo puts it). The Kasambahay Law seeks to redress this but then (as probably now), males in the household, junior and senior, felt free to flirt with, finger and, finally, rape the housemaids. In the male continuum of sexual violence, fingering is no big deal.

“The babe in the manger came to stand logic on its head so that the last shall be first, and the first, last. But the man in Malacañang has consigned the last, the least and the lost to perdition. Jesus said men and women are equal, honoring women as apostles, persons in their own right including Mary of Magdala, the sisters Martha and Mary, and Mary his mother. But the man in Malacañang says men and women are not equal. Men can slander, finger, jail, brutalize and rape women—
that’s just how it is.

“EveryWoman says NOT ANYMORE. Standing at the crux of class and gender, the housemaid represents the last, the least and the lost of EveryWoman. And it is for her, most especially, that the babe in the manger was born.

“…As we ring out the old and pay homage to a babe who makes all things new, EveryWoman harks back to the prophet Amos’ words: ‘Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.’ May the New Year bring justice to the men crushed by EJK and the women profaned by the man in Malacañang.”

Excerpts from Sen. Leila de Lima’s Dispatch from Crame No. 444:

“Shame on you, all of you who, by your apathy, silence or plain cowardice have become enablers of this new order of political turmoil and moral decay.

“Shame on you, those of you in the audience who would gleefully applaud the offensive rantings, sick non-‘jokes,’ vile and odious sexist remarks and blasphemies of this madman…

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“Shame on you, Bedans, those of you who, by your self-serving and hypocritical act of bestowing accolades to this first Bedan president as ‘Bedan of the Decade,’ have, in fact, glorified infamy, bringing dishonor to our alma mater.”

From Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB, of the Institute of Women’s Studies of St. Scholastica’s College, “a statement of disgust”: “What is even more disgusting is, as usual, his audience that looked like educated people laughed at his ‘joke.’ How could people have descended so low in such a short time? Was there no one there with the decency and courage to get up and leave????”

I pray and hope for a safer, bolder year ahead for Filipino journalists and truth-tellers all over the world.

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