Every now and then, way too often, women who have been raped and have their cases ridiculed or dismissed by courts all over the world, back down and stop seeking justice.
Not a Filipina Karen Verdito though, who was raped 11 years ago and is now taking her case to the United Nations CEDAW. Why you ask? Because the courts in the Philippines apparently established there are two kinds of women, the “rapable” and the “unrapable”
Karen alleged that she was raped on March 29, 1996, by the former president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCI) Jose Custodio. She was the DCCCI executive director.
â€œI was with my daughter (Kai) because her nanny was not available and I kept on repeating the mantra, â€˜Nothing happenedâ€™ to myself the whole day. Then I broke down. I talked with some friends and I even asked them to keep the rape secret from my husband,â€
The reason why she is seeking justice now is her daughter she says.
It was the sight of her daughter that convinced Karen to go to the police. â€œThat moment, I knew I had to do it. I decided to go to the police for her sake. I did not want her to think that her mother was not fighting. I did not want her to grow up thinking that she cannot fight back if she is violated,â€
So she went to court, just like any rape victim should and had to endure five days of an intensive daily six-hour grilling by the defence lawyers.
The verdict wasn’t what she or anyone with a sense of justice was hoping for:
â€œThe court, in effect, showed that there are two kinds of women: the â€˜rapableâ€™ and the â€˜unrapableâ€™ kind. I , according to the judge, fit the â€˜unrapableâ€™ mold,â€
Karen lost her case cause apparently she didn’t fall into the “rapable stereotype”.
“I did not look like a whore. I appeared motherly. We have to change this mindset and let everybody know that this can happen to anyone. Rape is not about lust. It is about power,”
I’m curious to know how exactly a woman has to look like to be considered “rapable”. Tacky shoes, short skirts, loads of make up maybe? Perhaps stilettos also help raise the rape-factor. It’s almost as if they have a “sexual abuse and rape is a compliment” kind of mentality.