Kiss is not license to rape
This is in reaction to Stephen L. Monsanto’s letter titled, “Panamanian ‘rape’: lesson for young girls.” (Inquirer, 5/23/12) In that letter, Monsanto essentially opined that the girl who was allegedly raped by the Panamanian diplomat was at fault for having been affectionate to the latter and, in Monsanto’s words, “behaving like a floozie.” Such an opinion notoriously exemplifies the patriarchal view of Filipino society. Indeed, Monsanto’s letter serves as a lesson for all Filipinos about everything that is wrong in how we perceive gender relations.
Monsanto cited the CCTV clips, which showed the victim kissing the Panamanian, as making the case virtually winnable for the defense because these proved that it was the girl who initiated the encounter. In saying this, Monsanto only proved that he is a relic of a past when women were looked down upon severely. Maybe his arguments could have made sense 20 years ago when many judges still had to consider whether a rape victim was “a woman of loose morals” before they convicted the rapist. Thankfully, our society’s moral and judicial systems have improved since then.
Is it possible for a woman to kiss a man and yet refuse to have sex with him? Yes, it is. I know this from experience. Kissing and having sex are two very different things. The point is that, no matter how much a man thinks a woman likes him, when she tells him to stop, he has to stop. There is something very wrong with the macho mindset that sees any display of affection as a prelude to sex, whether or not a woman agrees.
I do not know what kind of legal education teaches that it is not rape if the woman kissed first, but what my professor in UP Law taught me is that if a woman, regardless of her personality or situation, refuses to have sex with a man and he still forces himself upon her, it is rape—pure and simple. Hence, even wives can be raped by their husbands; and, contrary to Monsanto’s insinuation, even prostitutes have the right to cry rape. Furthermore, even if the woman does not resist, so long as she has been deprived of her reason or consciousness, it is still rape.
A certain part of our culture still views women as second-class citizens. Some Filipinos still have the notion that it is a woman’s fault or that she deserves it, if she gets raped for not being a “Maria Clara” (which is, by the way, Jose Rizal’s technique of showing how oppressive colonial culture is to women). Such ideas should have no place in this (supposedly) modern society of ours. Why focus on teaching women to not dress too attractively or to not be too affectionate to men, when we should focus on teaching men to respect the rights of women and not violate them?
—EDWARD F. DAYOG,
Reproductive Health and Gender Advocates’ Movement (RH AGENDA),
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