NO JOKE

Youth group blames ‘rape culture’ for slay of Cagayan lass

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—A youth organization has condemned the killing of a 20-year old working student from Lal-lo town in Cagayan, blaming the prevailing rape culture in today’s society.

In a statement, Gabriela Youth echoed the call of the victim’s family for justice for Rose (not her real name), a female working student who was found dead under a bridge in her village last week.

“While many concerned sectors are intensifying their campaign to end sexual violence against women, the government seems bent on ignoring these rising incidence of rape and abuse. Instead,  President Duterte himself tries to trivialize this issue by repeatedly making rape jokes,” it said.

Rose’s body was found slumped on a creek, less than a kilometer from their house in Paranum village on the morning of July 25. Investigators said her body bore signs of physical and sexual abuse.

The victim was an incoming second year Business Administration student of Cagayan State University-Aparri campus, who supported her studies by working as a saleslady of a store at the Lal-lo town market.

Chief Insp. Eugenio Mallillin, Lal-lo police chief, said they consider the victim’s boyfriend, who fetched her from work a few hours before her disappearance, as a “person in interest”.

They are still awaiting results of the crime laboratory to ascertain if the victim had been raped before she was killed.

Gabriela Youth expressed fear Rose’s case would only end up as an added statistics, citing a study by the Philippine Commission on Women that one in every 10 Filipino females end up as victims of sexual violence.

“This statistics shows that until today, women are looked down on as sexual objects or seen as the weaker sex,” adding that the government has not done enough to stop this culture.

It said the President’s propensity to make rape as a joke is alarming, as it provides offenders a license to commit abuses against women.

The CSU student community, too, condemned the murder, and joined the call for justice for the death of Rose.

 “We condemn the people we consider evils perpetrating these types of atrocities directed to the weak and powerless such as the women and us, students,” a statement posted on the school paper’s Facebook page said in part.#

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