Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has come under fire for making an incendiary comment about rape — by no means a first for the controversial world leader.
According to The New York Times, Duterte was making a speech last week when he appeared to reference a recent Philippine National Police Report stating that the city of Davao had recorded the country’s highest number of rapes in the second quarter of this year. Before he became president, Duterte served several terms as the mayor of Davao, and he claims to have eliminated crime from the city.
“They said there are many rape cases in Davao,” the president said, seemingly defending himself against the new report. “As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be more rape cases.”
#BabaeAko, a campaign that encompasses women’s rights groups and individual activists, swiftly condemned the president’s statement. “Instead of seriously addressing the problem, the misogynist Duterte has added insult to the scars of rape survivors,” #BabaeAko said in a statement.
Duterte has been repeatedly criticized for making degrading comments about women and victims of sexual assault. In July of last year, for instance, he said that while he did not “like” child rape, he would congratulate someone who had the “balls” to “mess with” a Miss Universe. During his presidential campaign in 2016, Duterte joked about the 1989 death of Australian missionary worker Jacqueline Hamill who was raped and killed by inmates during a prison riot in Davao. He also threatened to shoot female rebels in the vagina.
When Duterte’s own daughter said publicly that she had been raped, he responded by calling her a “drama queen.”
Reacting to Duterte’s latest comments, #BabaeAko emphasized that rape has nothing to do with a woman’s appearance.
“Rape is a heinous crime based on entitlement and on the false assumption that women are chattel, to be owned, to be punished according to the whims of men,” the group said.
“This country does not deserve a president who willfully breaks our laws and encourages others to do the same, because his notion of power stops at coercive force.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.