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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 21 February, 2020

The Philippines' President keeps making rape jokes, but is claiming that people "get him"

This is wrong on a number of levels.

THERE’S A STRONG possibility you’ve never heard of Rodrigo Duterte.

Being honest, you’re probably better off living ignorance.

Source: Bullit Marquez

He’s the president of the Philippines, and on Friday, he got in trouble for making a rape joke.

What I don’t like are kids [being raped],” Duterte reportedly said during a speech in his Davao City hometown, Friday.

You can mess with, maybe, Miss Universe. Maybe I will even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know you are going to die.”

The Philippines hosted the Miss Universe beauty pageant in January this year.

A spokesman for  Duterte has justified the joke on the grounds that the “majority of the people, especially the masses, really get him.”

There are those who tend to zero in on certain details, but as far as the public is concerned, and they are the ones who really approve of him, they find the president is somebody who understands them, who has their common interests, their common good, at heart.”

Ok, let’s call bullsh*t on that one

This isn’t the first time he’s made comments like this – and probably won’t be the last.

In May, soon after ISIS-pledged militias overran the southern city of Marawi, the president urged soldiers to continue working, saying he would back them even if they each raped three women.

And on the campaign trail last year, Duterte talked about the rape-murder of an Australian missionary during a 1980s Davao City prison riot, stating that he, as mayor of Davao at the time, “should have been first.”

His attempts at normalising rape are indirectly putting people in danger

Source: Bullit Marquez

Rape jokes contribute to rape culture – trivialising incidents of extreme trauma in which victims are taken advantage of. Rape is not a topic in which “anything goes” – that applies to politicians as well as comedians.

What’s extremely worrying, is that if people truly do “get him”, they are going to view this is as a non-event – as normal language, as opposed to violent rhetoric that is.

He’s unconsciously and indirectly putting the women of his country in danger.

Imagine if President Higgins or Leo Varadkar made similar comments


Look, we all have our own opinions on our country’s own politicians.

How sad it is then, that we should be thankful that our own leaders how dangerous it is to try to find the funny side of sexual violence?

If Varadkar or any of his mates in the Dáil were to make similar comments, he’d be savaged by the public and the media respectively, with an apologetic statement released after (we’d hope anyway).

We need to stop playing this off as a kooky characteristic - Duterte isn’t a “bad boy” for constantly peppering his speeches with profanity or making jokes about rape, and he should be held accountable for his actions.

Because, bottom line, there is nothing to “get” about his tasteless, callous humour.

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