World

Philippines President Blames Rape Surge On Number Of Beautiful Women Living In City He Used To Run

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte caught some backlash after appearing to blame rape on the attractiveness of female victims during a speech on Thursday.

Responding to concerns about rising numbers of rape cases in the city of Davao, Duterte replied, “As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be more rape cases.”

Philippines women’s rights group Gabriela released a statement following Duterte’s comments, criticizing him for trivializing assault and setting progress backward.

“Yet again, President Duterte sends a very dangerous and distorted message in his latest rape remark that a woman’s beauty is a cause of rape. He toys with Davao pride and misogyny to gloss over a very important detail that women in his hometown of Davao City suffered the most number of rape cases in the country. This latest theatric only confirms one thing: President Duterte is proud to have rolled back whatever gains and legal mechanisms that have been instituted for women’s rights in Davao City,”

Harry Roque, Duterte’s spokesman, told The New York Times that the former mayor of Davao was joking and that people should not take him too seriously. “They’re not okay with rape jokes, but let’s just say that perhaps the standard of what is offensive and what is not offensive is more liberal in the south,” he explained.

Duterte has been criticized for similar comments before, once famously calling his own daughter a “drama queen” when she revealed that she was a victim of sexual assault. He then explained, “She can’t be raped — she carries a gun.” His daughter claimed at the time that she was not offended by his remarks.

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