Sue Vice Ganda
For the topic of today’s column I had to choose between the land mines (internationally banned in warfare) that the communist New People’s Army laid to kill policemen en route to a hospital in Cagayan or the disgusting, distasteful and hurtful antiwomen rape jokes that ABS-CBN’s TV host Vice Ganda cracked during his recent live show at a huge venue. I chose the latter which, I fear, many might dismiss as “just jokes.”
I watched on YouTube a video clip that showed the popular gay TV host making a laughing matter of what is considered a sensitive subject and showing his disregard for victims of rape, a most crushing crime against women, men or children. And worse, he did this at the expense of a respected, hardworking, multiawarded TV journalist from rival TV network GMA-7, Jessica Soho.
I also read on Facebook the posts by shocked and angry netizens.
You can view on Facebook or YouTube the video footage that shows Vice Ganda wearing a glittering swimsuit-style costume with faux enormous breasts cum enormous nipples, the evidence of his vanished manhood tightly tucked away from sight to make him look like pop singer Madonna.
No gay-bashing here. Vice Ganda could have been a macho man and still deserve censure for his hurtful jokes against rape victims and those with health problems. Because he’s gay who mightily projects himself as feminine, we expect him to have empathy for rape victims who are women. Pardon my thinking Freudian here, but was his thoughtlessness a case of v-envy? Seriously, he better explore his subconscious with the help of a psychologist.
Cruelty and viciousness were what Vice Ganda unleashed—with thousands watching—when he conjured up a gang-rape scenario where Jessica was the victim. It had to be gang rape, Vice Ganda suggested, to stress Jessica’s weight condition. He also made jokes about a talking weighing scale and, nauseatingly, his imagined victim’s underwear. All these, while a high-ranking executive of his home network, Charo Santos-Concio, was shown laughing in the audience. (She should have walked out.)
Jessica’s weight condition may be obvious to TV viewers but this has not hampered her effectiveness in delivering the news. Many people don’t know that weight problems are not always caused by overeating, that these can be caused by metabolic and other related health issues.
Jessica is a veteran journalist with years of fieldwork, and who has gone up the ranks of her TV network. She now hosts the nightly “State of the Nation” and is vice president for news and public affairs of GMA-7. Her program is highly rated and widely watched. Many people look up to her for her no-nonsense delivery and contextualizing of the news—and I must say this—unlike some TV journalists who, while giving us the stories, can’t help calling attention to themselves and their kagalingan (feat).
If I were Jessica, I would sue Vice Ganda and his show/concert producers. Not primarily for her own sake but for the countless women who have been hurt by Vice Ganda’s jokes in his huge concert, and to teach a big lesson about rape that, to this day, many have not learned. It is not enough for Vice Ganda to say, “I’m sorry.” Contrition and punishment are not enough; reparation is important.
I don’t know what form the case would take. Oral defamation, libel, slander, damage to reputation—whatever. I think there is a strong legal case here. And the evidence that the crime was intentional, deliberate and premeditated is strong.
Rape is more than just a sexual crime. It is a crime of violence and force against a person who is overpowered in strength by a person or persons. Rape is no longer a “private crime.” The Anti-Rape Law of 1997 classifies rape as “a crime against persons.”
For so long, rape had been considered merely as “a crime against chastity.” This seemed to suggest that persons who were unchaste were fair game. The crime of rape should have nothing to do with the chastity of the victim. Rape is not merely a sexual offense or a crime against chastity, it is a crime against persons and against the state.
As one feminist lawyer has said, “Rape is not a crime against the hymen. It is a crime against the whole person.” It is a crime of the strong against the weak, a crime of conquest.
In his spiel, Vice Ganda’s suggestion of gang rape against a big, strong woman like Jessica fits in the “crime of conquest” definition of rape.
That women are still looked upon as mere satisfiers of men’s concupiscent desires is evident in the noontime TV shows that display perpetually gyrating women clad only in sequined panties and bras.
Again, let me say that it is not enough for Vice Ganda to say “Sorry ha.” He, if not his handlers, producers, etc., must publicly admit that a terrible wrong has been committed, and, even if not compelled by a court of law, offer reparation.
This is not about getting back at the offender. This is about repairing the damage wrought upon an innocent person and healing the hurt of those who had been severely wounded—and wounded again.
Otherwise, ganun na lang ba? That persons enjoying popularity, power and wealth can get away with impunity?
Let me end with a quote from Susan Brownmiller, author of “Against Our Will”: “Man’s discovery that his genitalia could serve as a weapon to generate fear must rank as one of the most important discoveries of prehistoric times. From the prehistoric times to the present, rape has played a critical function. It is a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear.”
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