August 20, 2018

‘Virgin Marie’ is a harmful portrayal of child rape accusations

There’s been an uproar on social media regarding the short film Virgin Marie directed by Darryl Yap. It starts out with the opening card “Hindi nagsisinungaling ang bata” (A child doesn’t lie) and shows a young girl giving an emotional testimony on how she was raped by her father. The plot twist is that she’s just acting and a lawyer has been coaching her to win a case the next day. The film then closes with the phrase “Nagsisinungaling ang bata.” (The child is lying.)

This struck a chord in netizens, explaining why this is harmful for actual victims of child rape. One created a thread explaining why this film only shows how children can be manipulated to lie about sexual abuse. Plus, others spoke up on how Virgin Marie will make it more difficult for children to come forward.

Some also directly called out the director but was met with sarcastic remarks.

Meanwhile, Darryl seems to be standing his ground and defending his film, to the point that he’s cut ties with friends who asked him to take it down. He’s been replying to his critics, saying that he’s not pro-rape for putting out a film. He also said in one tweet that people should “accept” that rape happens and that there are people being used to lie about it.

2016 report by the National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children stated that one in five children below 18 experience sexual violence, and perpetrators are often family members. It also doesn’t help that the Philippines’ age of consent is 12 years old, which is considered too low in global standards and opens doors to more cases of child rape.

Virgin Marie just reinforces the notion the possibility that people, especially children, can lie about sexual abuse and violence. If the intention was to bring awareness, it missed the mark because it’s promoting the very culture that should be eradicated to protect and give justice to the victims. Plus, the director himself is preaching about the acceptance that rape and lie happen, but really, it shouldn’t be normalized.

With that said, what do you think of the film? Did you like it or should it be taken down?


Screengrab from Virgin Marie via YouTube

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Filed Under:

Child Rape, culture, Darryl Yap, movies, rape, rape culture, social media, Virgin Marie

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