“Anongklasengkabastusanito? Saannakalagaysaatingkonstitusyon at mgabatas na pwedengbastusinkamingmgakababaihan at yurakanangamingdignidadbilangmgababae?” (What kind of profanity is this? Where in the Constitution and law can you see that you can trample our dignity as women?)
This was the statement issued today by Akbayan Senator RisaHontiveros in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s assertion that his sexist and misogynistic remarks are all part of his freedom of expression.
“May I remind President Duterte that freedom of expression rests in the realm of human rights. It is interrelated with other rights. Thus, the exercise of specific rights should also advance others and not derogate them. In this context, an individual’s freedom of expression should never negate other rights, such as the right of women to be free from violence,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros, who is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Women, said that sexist and misogynistic verbal attacks against women are not harmless.
“They function to denigrate women and further promote the growing climate of sexism and misogyny in the country. Anti-women remarks reinforce sexist behavior, gender stereotyping and discrimination against women that leads to violence. When the President says that it’s okay to rape women, he promotes the rape culture, which ultimately, could lead to women getting raped,” Hontiveros explained.
“And we have seen the result of President Duterte’s violent and anti-women rhetoric. It has set into motion the killing of thousands, the left and right death threats against Catholic priests and sexist verbal attacks online and off against women opposition leaders,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros however said that she was not surprised by Duterte’s latest remarks.
“What do we really expect from the country’s chief misogynist? I encourage my fellow women to continue to close ranks and stand up against all forms of violence and discrimination against women. While we celebrate our hard-fought victories, we will continue to push back. We will not allow this to become the ‘new normal’ and get used to it. We will not be complicit in this despicable culture,” Hontiverosconcluded.—bagongsenado