September 14, 2018

Our current justice system thinks male rape victims deserve less justice than female victims

Do you know that here in our country, boys are not recognized as rape victims? Rape committed against boys is only considered as sexual assault, which carries a lesser penalty than if the victim was a girl. Under our current law, offenders who commit sexual intercourse, narrowly defined as “A man who has sexual intercourse with a woman (a) Through force, threat or intimidation; (b) When the victim is deprived of reason or is unconscious; (c) Through fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and (d) When the victim is under 12 years of age or is demented, even if none of the above conditions are present” faces imprisonment from 20 to 40 years. However, only six to 12 years of imprisonment is imposed on the offender if “rape was committed through oral or anal sex or through the use of any object or instrument that was inserted into the mouth or anal orifice of the woman or a man,” and can only be elevated to longer years of sentence “depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime.”

According to a study by the Council for the Welfare of Children and UNICEF, reported just last year, more males within the age of 13 to 24 years old experience sexual violence than females. “If we look at the numbers, it’s more males who experience sexual violence when most of us assume that the results would tend to lean more towards females,” Faye Balanon, child protection officer of UNICEF Philippines, said.

The study, which defined sexual violence as “taking photos or sex videos of being naked or engaging in sexual activities, unwanted touch, forced attempted sex, and forced consummated sex,”  revealed that one in five children experienced any form of sexual violence in any setting, may it be at home, school, workplace, community or during dating. In the study’s 3,866 respondents, of which, 1,887 were females and 1,979 were males, 28.7 percent of the male respondents admitted to have experienced sexual violence, while only 20.1 percent of the female respondents admitted.

In terms of forced consummated sex, overall, the prevalence rate in males was 4.1 percent, while in females, was 2.3 percent. Although at home, forced consummated sex is more prevalent in females than males, in schools, during dating, and in the community, however, the  the number of forced consummated sex for males in schools was higher as compared to females. Data from DepEd last year corroborated their findings.”Most of sexual abuse cases reported to the Child Protection Committees in DepEd are of boys. So it is confirmed at least in the school settings,” Balanon said.

In terms of sexual violence, overall, the study showed that there are more male victims than females (12.6 percent vs. 8.5 percent) in the home, as well as in school (6.7 percent vs. 4.5 percent). The study also showed that 27.47 percent of those who experienced sexual violence in school belong to the age range of 16 to 18 years old.

The study further revealed that attempted sex during dating is more prevalent in males (10.2 percent) than in females (9.3 percent). The same goes for forced consummated sex without consent, at 10.5 percent in males and 10.4 percent in females.

This shows how crucial gender equality is, in our justice system. Even if the numbers were different, the current law we have makes no sense. As Pan International noted, “Sexual violence is sexual violence. Whether boy or girl, there is no difference to the trauma.”

One way to bring justice closer to victims is by amending the law to increase the age of determined statutory rape, so minors up to 18 years old, regardless of gender, qualify as rape victims. The next is to amend this law so all rape victims can get the justice they deserve.

 

Art by Marian Hukom

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Related stories:
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attempted rape, culture, Double Standard, gender equality, LGBT, rape, sexual assault



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