Every 53 minutes, a Filipino woman or child is raped

“Reducing the issue of rape to ridicule is alarming because the reality shows that every 53 minutes, a woman or child is raped…Every woman or girl feels unsafe. And the question is what is the government doing about it?”

A Filipino woman or child is raped every 53 minutes.

One woman is battered every 16 minutes.

Seven in 10 victims of rape are children.

The victims are getting younger and the numbers are rising.

According to the Center for Women’s Resources (CWR), a research and training institution, the number of recorded rape cases in the Philippines increased by 92% during the Aquino administration from 5,132 in 2010 to 9,875 in 2014, or a case of rape every 53 minutes.

Meanwhile, a 200% increase in violations of  Republic Act (RA) 9262, or the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act, was also noted from 2010 to 2014.

“Despite more than  37  laws, executive and administrative orders pertaining to protect  women and children, the victims of violence are getting younger and the abusers are becoming bolder and harsher,” observed Ms. Jojo Guan, Executive Director of the CWR.

Read: More than 60 rape cases since typhoon Yolanda reported in Tacloban

“Reducing the issue of rape to ridicule is alarming because the reality shows that every 53 minutes, a woman or child is raped…Every woman or girl feels unsafe. And the question is what is the government doing about it?” asked Guan.

Government records, also according to CWR, showed that only 59% of the 9,445 reported rape cases were filed in court, with many victims and their families choosing not to file cases due to the high cost of litigation and slow judicial process.

But aside from the road blocks in the justice system, rape is likewise trivialized. Most recently, presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte’s remark on rape was met with strong criticism.

Next: Poor women are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse

Poor and indigenous women are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse

According to the 2013 National Demographic and Health Survey, poor women and indigenous women are more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse compared to women in the high wealth quintile.

Data from the human rights group Karapatan reveal that a total of 10 cases of military rape were reported from June 2010 to November 2015. The victims, more often than not, were children and indigenous women.

These cases include that of  a 21-year-old woman who was raped in Aroroy, Masbate in 2010; two teenage girls from Mankayan, Benguet in 2012; and the case of a young Lumad from Talaingod, Davao 2015.

“Not a single soldier was charged and penalized for these brutal acts,” stressed CWR.

Guan added that the return of US military servicemen through the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) has increased the exploitation of women.

For instance, in the Walking Street in Fields Avenue, Angeles City, Pampanga, at least 15,000 women work as waitresses, dancers, and entertainers. These women, most of whom hail from depressed areas in Visayas and Mindanao, are paid Php 170 per night.

Interviews conducted by CWR revealed that American soldiers are the main customers. Bars even offer military appreciation discount for US military customers.

“The proliferation of violence is caused by an existing culture that promotes exploitation and subjugation of women especially in the lowest echelon of society. It is a culture where the powerful dominates the powerless. Such domination is translated in the treatment of women, especially those who belong to the marginalized sector,” Guan also said.

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