Editor’s note: When Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II raised the possibility of showing the alleged sex videos to prove beyond doubt that lady Senator Leila De Lima and her driver were indeed lovers, he subsequently opened a can of worms. In this article, we cited the statement given by the Women Writers in Media Now (Women) which practically express rage and enumerate the savage acts of the members of the Duterte cabinet towards women; all of which do not necessarily reflect Kami.com.ph‘s views.
Despite being the highest ranking country in the Asia-Pacific region when it comes to gender gap, it seems that the Philippines, the government, and the women are still stuck with the same issues, perhaps even more. In the course of asserting empowerment, more women have taken part in the competitive and professional arena formerly dominated by men. While it may come across as 'women-friendly' to an outsider, nothing could be further from the truth.
If anything, this so-called women empowerment has simply made a culture of competition among women in the country. Numerous malicious posts crop up at every opportunity, and instead of propagating confidence, the new era of empowerment found angry women who trade insults with the most confident of the crop. If women can turn against each other in the spirit of empowerment, what is to stop the men from doing the same in the spirit of gender equality?
However, as the Women's group have pointed out, this sort of misogynistic display is not something that should be encouraged nor exercised in the government. If the social media serves as both an avenue for and against debasing women, the government is expected not to join in the bandwagon of shaming women, and even more so, because the government is sworn to advocate "protection" for every member of the society.
Ironically, even the greatest advocate of the “law” in the country, has been stamping on the very right that they have sworn to protect in the spirit of governance. When the Speaker and the Secretary of Justice advocate the "cavalier threat" of publicly showing the alleged sex video of Senator Leila De Lima, they announced that the government will willingly stamp on the women's right to protection and privacy, in the name of forwarding their interest, which are as political in nature as it is legal.
As the Women have rightly opined in their statement released on October 1, this attack - the virtual rape - that the lady senator has been receiving from both President Duterte, his cabinet members, and even from the lawmakers, is nothing but a disgraceful display of power, that is not even necessary in determining the truth of the case in point.
"Slut-shaming is cruel, despicable, and in this case, un-parliamentary. It is, at its core, an assault on all women."
This perverted display of double standard in the government is merely shameful. An outright disregard for human rights, with a reputational cost that is so big that not even finding out the truth will ever be enough to cover for.
" We must put an end to this ugly voyeurism that has publicly debased a woman senator without regard for her personhood. We call out our legislators’ impaired thought processes. We want the return of respect, dignity, and due process for all. We insist, as citizens, to be treated right."
As the Women's group have and will surely strive for, this sort of condescending attack on women must be stopped if we are to have any hope for a real "women-friendly" society in the Philippines.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Kami.com.ph, its editors, or other contributors.