Victim Blaming

Tito Sotto struck again this past week. The Senator, who has already made clear from his anti-RH Law stance and many misogynistic statements that he is anti-women, added another notch to his belt. He has now publicly shamed a victim of sexual assault, on national TV no less.

During a live show of Eat Bulaga on July 9, Sotto and his co-hosts Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola spoke with a woman who had won one of their contests. The woman started narrating a story of how she had been out drinking with male friends and had been sexually assaulted.

Instead of offering sympathy or outrage towards the abuser, Tito Sotto said, “Kababae mong tao pa-shot shot ka?” [You’re a woman, and you were doing shots?”] His co-host Jose Manalo added, “Ano suot mo? naka-shorts ka ‘no?” [What were you wearing? I bet you were in shorts, no?”]

In later interviews, Sotto defended his view, stating that married women should not be out drinking without their husbands.

Nowhere in this narrative did Sotto or his co-hosts talk about the need for men not to rape. They blamed the victim by implying that she asked for her assault because she was out drinking without her husband and was possibly wearing shorts or something else sexy or provocative.

Let’s be clear. Rape is never the victim’s fault. No matter if the victim is drunk or sober, attractive or not, wearing revealing clothing or not, is with a spouse or not… Rape is the fault of rapists. Rapists are the only legitimate people to blame when someone gets raped.

Do I believe that people should exercise judgment and try to avoid potentially dangerous situations? Of course! But even if a victim uses poor judgment and ends up in a dangerous situation, it is still the rapist’s actions that are to blame. If a man walks into a dangerous neighborhood do we blame him if he gets mugged? How do you explain women who get raped wearing conservative clothing?

To people who disagree and believe that the victim is to blame, I ask this: Are all men potential rapists who cannot control themselves? If women are sexy and drunk do men have no choice but to rape them?

The answer is no. Men that think yes are the ones who are rapists or who support rapists. Every time Tito Sotto blames the victim he attempts to absolve his brother, Vic Sotto, of the rape of Pepsi Paloma. Every time he tries to justify his behavior he attempts to absolve himself of the cover up. (For more information on the Pepsi Paloma rape and murder, and the Sotto’s involvement click here.)

Not all men are rapists. Rape is a choice. Some men will force sexual intercourse with someone who is unwilling. Some men will walk away without harming anyone. It’s that simple. It has nothing to do with what the victim was doing or wearing. It has everything to do with men who rape and who justify their behavior by blaming the victims.

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