MISOGYNY is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”. It is a word that aptly describes the persona of today’s president PRRD. President Duterte since his ascension to power never hid his hatred for women. Two years from the time he took over the presidency of this country, we are able to compile a number of his infamous statements, inexcusable behaviour and actions that undeniably characterizes him as a “bona fide” misogynist.
His first prey when he first sat as president was former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima when he made a tirade against her and had her arrested and incarcerated on alleged drug trafficking charges. De Lima has waged a crusade to expose President Rodrigo Duterte as the leader of death squads that have killed thousands of people in Davao.
Even prior to his presidency, however, in April 2016 when Duterte was still campaigning as a presidential candidate, he already threw a repulsive remark on the rape and murder of an Australian Missionary when he was still mayor of Davao, the place where the incident happened – “Son of a bitch, what a waste. I was thinking that they raped her and lined up. I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first, what a waste.”
In May, 2017 when he was already president, he again cracked a joke among state forces involved in an ongoing operation in the southern city of Marawi that they could rape up to three women “I will be imprisoned for you. If you rape three (women), I will say that I did it. But if you marry four, son of a whore you will be beaten up.”
In July 2017, Duterte made the foul remark in a speech to Filipino diplomats in Davao, as he defended his war on drugs. “You can mess with, maybe Miss Universe. Maybe I will even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know you are going to die”
In January 4, 2018, justifying his act of kissing a Filipina during an official visit in South Korea, Duterte stated that it was not the first time he kissed a woman in public. “You know, I’ll tell you what. There are people here from Davao, during the campaign in my mayorship days, I kissed every woman there, lips to lips.” “Not only smack. Other women really wanted ‘romance.’” But as a reporter asked him what he thinks about the kissing incident he replied “What is your question about the kissing? Ah, we enjoyed it”.
In January 26, 2018 speaking before Indian and Filipino businessmen in India, to promote tourism in the Philippines, he expressed “The come on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you; if I could just make it a come on also for those who would like to go to my country. I ‘d like to have virgins here, not in heaven.”
In February 7, 2018 hosting some former rebels in Malacanang, he made another demeaning statement against female members of the NPA’s, “You crazy people. You join the NPA then bear children. I’ll have your vaginas shot…. Bring that. Tell the soldiers. ‘There’s a new order coming from mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina, so that …’ If there is no vagina, it would be useless,”
In May 2018, Duterte declared that the next Ombudsman should not be a woman referring to Justice Conchita Carpio Morales. “I believe in the woman. The competence and capability but not in all aspects of life. Not you. No, no. It’s just right. It’s not appropriate.” He further said not wanting women to become soldiers, “I don’t want to have female soldiers and police in the countryside. Unlike men, at a young age we’ve been engaged in fistfights, brawls, gunfights, And we grew up with a mindset that is sometimes prone to violence. These women, they are prim and proper. Just one look to their mother and they’ll melt. Then you’ll let them become cops and have them engage in fighting. Oh no!”
With his views about the female sex, no wonder he cannot hide his condescending attitude towards strong women like Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, detained Senator Leila De Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, UN Special Rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Victoria-Tauli Corpuz, and International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, for they are not the subservient and passive women he expects them to be.
He even allowed the removal of a comfort woman statue, which is the symbol for the Asian women survivors forced to work in wartime brothels during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines and other Asian countries to pave the way for a drainage construction project. Duterte instructed the statue to be placed in a private property so as “not to insult Japan”, trivializing the issue of the desecration of Filipino women’s dignity victimized of sex slavery by Japanese forces”.
What makes the situation more than worrisome is how people whom he addressed his views were somewhat thrilled by his statements, eliciting laughter among them. Many perhaps see these matters as “normal”. Others make an excuse and rationalize them as something that “we must accept” because “it is his character”.
However, his perceptions and conduct towards women are despicable and unjust. And coming from the highest state official of the land, it makes these even more loathsome.
So what is iniquitous with these misogynist statements and behaviour by the President?
First, it is absolutely a direct affront to women degrading our personhood.
Second, it reinforces the discriminatory views and practices against women and boosts sexism that society will look at them as normal and natural.
Third, it makes women all the more vulnerable to abuses where even state forces are encouraged to violate women’s rights. It even strengthens the climate of impunity in our midst. Remember, the woman who was suspected of carrying drugs? She was made to undress to see whether she possesses them for they may be hidden in her private parts?
For the sake of our mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and grandmothers, let us not allow this misogynistic acts and behaviour.
PRRD’s incorrigible macho-fascist character is unacceptable and must not be perpetuated
Women stand up, rise up against Misogyny!