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Rape is one of the most prevalent forms of violence against women (VAW) in the
Philippines. Reported rape cases ranked third (13.1%) of the total reported VAW
cases in the country from 1999 to 2009. The hard fact is that this is not yet the true
representation of the problem. Due to cultural and social stigmatization associated
with rape, many women victims prefer to maintain their silence and not report their
ordeal to the authorities.

The government with the aid of NGOs have taken initiatives to set up crisis centers
for rape survivors in collaboration with the different sectors of the community to
help victims deal with the trauma and encourage them to report rape. Several raperelated laws have also been passed to address the concern. Through the provision
of suitable legal support and health services, it is hoped that women victims of rape
be encouraged to come forward for proper intervention and justice to be served

What is rape and how is it committed?

Republic Act No. 8353, known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, expanded the
definition of the crime of rape and re-classified it as a crime against persons.
Previously, it was classified as a crime against chastity, and belonged to the group
of crimes that include adultery, concubinage, acts of lasciviousness, seduction,
corruption of minors and white slave trade. As a crime against persons, the law no
longer considers it as a private crime. Anyone who has knowledge of the crime
may file a case on the victim's behalf. Prosecution continues even if the victim
drops the case or pardons the offender.

Rape is committed under the following circumstances:

A man has sexual intercourse with a woman:

Through force, threat or intimidation;
When the victim is deprived of reason or is unconscious;
Through fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
When the victim is under 12 years of age or is demented, even if none of the
above conditions are present.
Any person who, under any of the above conditions, commits an act of sexual
assault through oral or anal sex or by inserting an instrument or object into the anal
or genital orifice of another person.

What are the laws relating to rape and what are the penalties for perpetrators under
these laws?

In the Philippines, there are two laws enacted that directly address rape namely:

R.A. 8353: The Anti-Rape Law of 1997

R.A. 8505: The Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998

Under R.A. 8353, the penalties for rape perpetrators vary depending on the act
itself and the circumstances surrounding it. These are the following:

Reclusion perpetua (imprisonment from 20 to 40 years) is imposed on the offender

if rape is committed through sexual intercourse

Prision mayor (imprisonment from six to 12 years) 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.
This may also be elevated to reclusion temporal (imprisonment from 12 to 20
years) or reclusion perpetua depending on the circumstances surrounding the

--http://www.pcw.gov.ph/focus-areas/violence-against-women/rape. 11:21am,

Special Report: Rape in the Philippines: Numbers reveal disturbing trend

August 27, 2014 8:36pm

It was an early Saturday morning in Mandaluyong, at the corner of a street that

bears the name of Nolis tragic heroine. A 17-year-old girl, naked and crying,
tumbled out of a gray sedan; she had been raped.

The girls ordeal occurred just hours before rape-slay victim Anria Espiritu was
laid to rest in Calumpit, Bulacan. Espiritu, 26, was found dead the week before; her
body bore multiple stab wounds, and authorities believe she may have been raped
by more than one assailant.

Espiritu and the teenager's cases are the most recent to hit the headlines. However,
rape incidents reported in the news are far fewer compared to those actually
reported to authorities.

In 2013, the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center
(PNP-WCPC) recorded a total of 5,493 rape incidents involving women and child
victims. Thats approximately one reported rape incident every 96 minutes.

But consider this: the PNP-WCPC is just one of several units that report crime
data. Its mother unit, the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective
Management (PNP-DIDM), consolidates crime reports from all reporting units.
Last year, the PNPs annual report based on DIDM data tallied as much as 7,409
reported rape incidents, or one every 72 minutes.

Consider, too, that these are just the reported rape incidents.

The Center for Womens Resources (CWR), an institution advocating women

empowerment since 1982, said that official data on rape incidents could actually be

Batay sa aming experience, ang isang nabibiktima, lalo na 'pag bata, 'di kaagad
siya nagkukuwento. Lalo na 'pag tinatakot, said CWR Executive Director Jojo
Guan in an interview with GMA News Research.

Pina-process din muna ng isang rape victim sa sarili niya kung anong nangyari sa
kaniya. At usually, ano yun, talagang depression muna. Kaya isang brave step 'pag
ikaw ay nakapag-report,she added.

(Based on our experience, a rape victim more so a child rape victim does not
immediately report her ordeal, especially when shes being threatened the rape
victim tries to process what happened to her, and usually, depression sets in.
Reporting the rape is already a brave step on the victims part.)

While its difficult to quantify the extent of unreported rape incidents, Guan said it
was evident when CWR got to talk to people during community orientations on
violence against women and children.

Maraming nagkukuwento, tapos kung minsan nga in third person ang

kapitbahay namin may kaibigan ako 'Pag tinanong mo, nasabi nyo po ba to sa
barangay o pulis? Hindi, she recounted. Kasi nga natatakot, o iniisip nila na
nakakahiya. Kaya sa ganun pa lang, sa marami na naming nakakausap, ibig
sabihin marami pa ring hindi pumupunta, Guan added.

(A lot of people tell us, sometimes they recount their stories in third person our
neighbor, I have a friend. When we ask them whether they reported the
incident to the barangay or to the police, they would say no They are scared,
they are ashamed. Those anecdotes that we get from the people weve spoken to
mean there are still many who do not go [to authorities].)

Available official data on those that did report their rape reveal a disturbing trend.
Based on data in the past 15 years, three out of four rape incidents reported to the
PNP WCPC involved child victims.

A much smaller dataset from the Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD) show that nearly half of the child rape cases that they served last year
involved children younger than 14 years old.

Earlier this month, a man in San Juan City was caught on CCTV carrying off an
11-month-old baby girl who was later found dead under a jeepney. Medico legal
findings show evidence that she was raped.

PNP WCPC Chief Juanita Nebran explained that children are indeed more
vulnerable to abuse. Sila yung walang kakayahang lumaban... takot sila, at andyan
pa yung hiya, she told GMA News Research in a phone interview.

([The children] do not have the capability to fight back they are scared, and at
the same time they are ashamed.)

CWRs Guan shared a similar observation, adding that an adult rapist would take
advantage of a childs submissive nature.

Nakikita niya na ito, ay hindi ito lalaban sa 'kin magagawa ko lahat ang gusto
ko sa kaniya, she said. (He sees that the child victim will not fight back, and that
he can do anything he wants with the child.)

The PNP WCPC data also show an increasing trend in reported rape incidents in
recent years. Last years figure (5,493, already mentioned in an earlier paragraph)
was a record high coming from 3,294 reported women and child rape incidents
way back in 1999. The 15-year average chalks up to 3,889 reported rape incidents
per year.

Nebran attributed this trend to a number of factors. One is that as the population
grows, so does the likelihood of more crimes to be committed. Another is that the
PNP in recent years has been striving to get the true crime picture. This meant
that crime reports now included those coming from barangay blotters and other law
enforcement units, not just data from police units.

While the thought of increasing reports of rape may sound horrific, it indicates that
victims are becoming bold enough to come out.

Meron kaming ginagawang advocacies sa schools, sa communities, ina-advocate

namin na 'wag silang matakot, 'wag mahihiya, lumabas na kayo, mag-report kayo,
Nebran said. So mas nakaka-reach out kami, kaya mas marami nang nag-rereport.

(We conduct these advocacies in schools and in communities, we advocate that

victims should not be scared, that they should not be ashamed, that they should
come out and report. We can reach out to them more, so more are also reporting to

Hindi naman sa wala kaming ginagawa kaya lumalaki yung bilang. Marami na
kaming kakayahan ngayon, maraming agencies na tumutulong. Hindi naman po
kami nagpapabaya, she added.

(Its not that [the rape incidents] are increasing because were not doing anything
about it. We are now more equipped, there are more agencies helping us. Were not
being lax at our jobs.)

The reported rape incidents based on last years PNP WCPC data are highest in
CALABARZON and the National Capital Region. Except for ARMM which
tallied only 29 incidents, all regions recorded more than a hundred incidents.

Kung mataas nga ang awareness dun sa community na ito ay pwedeng ihapag sa
barangay o sa pulis, mas marami ang ma-re-report. Kaya kung titingnan mo rin,
marami sa NCR. Kasi dito, maraming awareness-raising, at yung nearby
communities, Guan said.

Guan said while other areas were just as likely to have a high rape incidence, the
statistics may not necessarily bear this out. She said the culture of silence
strongly prevailed in those areas, especially in the Muslim provinces.

(If the awareness in a community is high, if they know that they can approach the
barangay or the police, then more victims will report. If youre going to look at the
data, there are more reported cases in NCR. That is because there are a lot of
awareness raising activities here and also in the nearby communities.)

Those who do decide to report their rape face even more challenges, according to
Guan. A rape victims resolve to take action may be affected by how her family and
the attending authorities would handle her delicate situation.

Mas kailangan talaga nila ng suporta at pang-unawa lalo na ng malalapit sa

kanila. Pero kung yung mga mas pinakamalalapit sa kanila ang siyang nang
sumuko at umurong... lalo na pag menor de edad tapos yung nanay o tatay pa ang
kulang sa support system, ang isang biktima ng rape ay talagang uurong, she said.

(Rape victims need the support and understanding of the people close to them.
But if those closest to them are the ones who give up and back out especially in
the case of minor victims whose parents lack that support system, a rape victim
will really back out.)

CWR has observed cases where authorities asked judgmental questions -- Bakit
kasi gabi ka na umuwi? Ano ba yung damit mo? Bakit di ka nagpasama?... Bakit
ka nakipag-inuman doon, kababae mong tao? that made rape victims blame
themselves for what happened to them.

(Why did you come home late? What clothes were you wearing? Why didnt you
ask someone to accompany you? Youre a girl why did you join the drinking

And then there is the matter of whether to push through with filing a case or not
against the assailant. Victims who have no financial means are particularly
handicapped when it comes to seeking justice, Guan said.

Ang iisipin nila, pa'no ba yung lawyer, yung pagbabayad nun, yung pagbabyahe
sa korte. Yung sistema mismo natin ay hindi nag-e-encourage na mag-pursue ang
isang biktima ng kaso dahil napakabagal ng justice system, napakabagal ng

(They will be thinking about how to pay for the lawyers fees and the cost of
travelling to and from the court. Our justice system does not encourage victims to
pursue a case because the system is very slow, and it takes a long time to come up
with a decision.)

Where the PNP can intervene, it does so as best as it could. WCPC chief Nebran
said that the PNP had intensified trainings and specialized courses to constantly
improve how authorities dealt with women and children victims of abuse. These
trainings complement the information awareness campaigns that they conduct in

But authorities can only do so much. Ultimately, it still boils down to the rape
victims willingness to come forward.

Hindi namin sila matutulungan kung tatahimik lang sila, WCPC chief Nebran
said. NB/JST, GMA News

- See more at:


Amending the Anti-rape Law

Policy Brief No. 11
Strengthening the Provisions of R.A. 8353: AMENDING THE ANTI-RAPE
This policy brief provides the rationale and recommendations for amending the
anti-rape law; redefining it by providing specific and clearer instances and putting
the element of lack of consent at its center.
Rape is an inherent violent crime that results in physical, social, emotional and
psychological harm. It is not only when force is used that the crime becomes
violent; the fact that the sexual act is committed against the will of the victim
makes the crime violent.
The 2011 International Statistics on Crime and Justice conducted by the European
Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, ranks the Philippines as 7th among the
countries with high prevalence of rape cases[1]. The Philippine National Police
(PNP) records show that reported rape cases ranked third and accounted for about
9.6% of total reported violence against women (VAW) cases from 2004 to 2012[2] .
The WCPU statistics for 2012 revealed that the most recorded victims of sexual
abuse are children between the ages of 13-15 years old with 1,147 cases. The
National Objectives for Health Survey of the DOH (2000) shows that 295,448
teenagers between the ages of 13-15 years experienced sexual abuse, 61, 518 of
these were forced sex/rape and only 0.1% are reported to the authorities[3].
These reports and figures show that rape remains a prevalent social problem. Most
cases were underreported due to significant barriers such as cultural and social
stigmatization and pressure, fear of retaliation, lack of confidence in the justice
system, ignorance of the proper reporting procedures and inability to withstand the
rigors of severe examination and a public trial.


Undoubtedly, the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 is progressive in terms of veering away
from the chastity framework, and classifying rape as a crime against persons rather
than a crime committed against private individuals thereby challenging the privatepublic divide. However, the law still vacillates between the two realms. While
making rape a public crime, it also recognizes that the subsequent forgiveness
by the wifeshall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty.[4] Further, the
provision which states that the subsequent valid marriage between the offender
and the offended party shall extinguish the criminal action or the penalty imposed
could expose the woman to the danger of domestic violence. Once the woman
victim marries the offender, she no longer has legal remedy to file an action for
These forgiveness clauses in the law do not take into consideration the very issue
of gender-based violence in an intimate relationship which can involve a whole
range of abuses such as physical, sexual and psychological that can happen over a
prolonged period of time. Maintaining the existence of the forgiveness clause in
our law could give rise to violence against women under the shroud of marriage,
keeping women in violent and abusive relationships rather than freeing them. With
such provision, women who are raped by their husbands are likely to be raped
many times and would suffer repeated violence for they are usually trapped in a
vicious cycle of sexual abuse in marriage.
Despite the enactment of RA 8353 in 1997 which amended the crime of rape in the
Revised Penal Code, it is often difficult for a woman to press charges because of
the evidential rules concerning the crime or many cases of rape are being dismissed
in courts because victims have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was no
consent[5] . Behind relevant provisions of the anti-rape law that represents
considerable progress, it is still implicit in this law the disregard for the traumatic
effects to the victims of the sexual assault of this nature. Myths and
misconceptions, wrongful presumptions and discriminatory understandings about
consent in sexual violence and its victims are still being employed and remain as
basis for jurisprudential doctrines in rape.
The issue surrounding consent in the crime of rape must also go to the question on
whether the victim has the capability to consent. Our present law implicitly sets the
rightful age of consent to sex at 12 years old while official data show that majority
of victims of rape are under the ages of 13-15 years old. Earlier initiation of sexual
intercourse is strongly associated with sexually transmitted infections[6] , increased
risk for cervical cancer[7] , pregnancy, depression and suicide, and sexual abuse.

Increasing such age of consent to at least 16 years of age will generally provide
greater protection against abuses to girls and minors.
Section 12 of RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) provides for the
amendment or repeal of laws that are discriminatory to women which, among
others, include RA 8353 on removal of subsequent forgiveness and valid marriage
Article II Section 11 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that the State
values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human
Case law has it that the failure of the victim to shout or offer tenacious resistance
does not make voluntary the victims submission to the criminal acts of the accused
(People v. Pepito, G.R. Nos. 147650-52, October 16, 2003). Resistance is not an
element of rape and the absence thereof is not tantamount to consent (People v.
Dizon, 367 SCRA 417 (2001)). The law does not impose upon a rape victim the
burden of proving resistance (People v. Talavera, G.R. Nos. 150983-84, November
21, 2003). In fact, physical resistance need not be established in rape when
intimidation is exercised upon the victim and she submits herself against her will to
the rapists lust because of fear for life or personal safety (People v. Umbana, G.R.
Nos. 146862-64, April 30, 2003). Indeed, it has been said that, in rape cases, it is
not necessary that the victim should have resisted unto death or sustained injuries
in the hands of the rapist. It suffices that intercourse takes place against her will or
that she yields because of a genuine apprehension of great harm (People v.
Dagami, G.R. No. 136397, November 11, 2003)[8].
Physical resistance need not be established when intimidation is brought to bear on
the victim and the latter submits herself out of fear. As has been held, the failure to
shout or offer tenuous resistance does not make voluntary the victims submission
to the criminal acts of the accused (People v. San Antonio, Jr., G.R. No. 176633,
September 5, 2007, 532 SCRA 411, 428). Intimidation is addressed to the mind of
the victim and is, therefore, subjective (People v. Castro, G.R. No. 172691, August
10, 2007, 529 SCRA 800, 809-810; citing People v. Ilao, G.R. Nos. 152683-84,
December 11, 2003, 418 SCRA 391)[9].


The provision in rape law which ends criminal prosecution in the event of marriage
between the offender and the victim was abolished in Mexico in 1991, Colombia in
1997, Peru in 1999, and Ethiopia in 2005. On 9 May 2005, the new Ethiopian
Penal Code which removed the marital exemption for abduction and rape came
into effect. Both abduction and rape are criminal offenses under Ethiopian law, but
Articles 558 and 599 of the 1957 Ethiopian Penal Code had provided that in the
event of subsequent marriage to his victim, the perpetrator was exempt from
criminal responsibility for these crimes. Equality Now launched its campaign in
March 2002, calling on the Ethiopian Government to comply with the sex equality
provisions of its own Constitution and international law by abolishing this legal
Under the Indian Penal Code, rape is a non-compoundable offence, an offence
against society and is not a matter to be left for the parties to compromise and
settle. In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that a rapists offer to
marry the rape survivor could never be a ground for letting off the guilty lightly for
two major reasons: one, it would encourage the convicts to pressurize rape
survivors to reach a compromise and two, rape is a crime against society.
The offence of rape in Australia is defined as carnal knowledge of a woman
without her consent: carnal knowledge is the physical fact of penetration; it is the
consent to that which is in question; such a consent demands a perception as to
what is about to take place; as to the identity of the man and the character of what
he is doing (Papadimitropoulos v The Queen). Thus, Chief Justice King said,
The law on the topic of consent is not in doubt. Consent must be a free and
voluntary consent. It is not necessary for the victim to struggle or scream. Mere
submission in consequence of force or threats is not consent. The relevant time for
consent is the time when sexual intercourse occurs. Consent, previously given,
may be withdrawn, thereby rendering the act non-consensual. A previous refusal
may be reversed thereby rendering the act consensual. That may occur as a
consequence of persuasion, but, if it does, the consequent consent must, of course,
be free and voluntary and not mere submission to improper persuasion by means of
force or threats.[11]
The Sudanese Criminal Act defines rape as sexual intercourse without consent. In
Great Britain, the accused can be convicted of rape even if the victim has
consented. The High Court has ruled on a case where a woman consented to only
limited sexual contact and the ruling is based on the principle that if you do

something to someones intimate bits which you know s/he has not consented to or
is unable to consent to, you are committing sexual assault or rape.
The Oxford City Council is running a campaign called Check Consent. Theyre
reaching out through posters, beer mats and social media to challenge unhealthy
attitudes towards sex and prevent violence and abuse in relationships.[12]
National laws of other countries and statutes of international tribunals increasingly
stipulate principles on the use of presumptions with regards to the existence or
absence of consent. For example, Article 75 of the UK Sexual Offences Act of
2003 states that proof of violence or threats prior to sexual intercourse rule out
consent. Conversely, consent cannot be inferred on the grounds of the silence, or
lack of resistance by a victim against sexual violence as stated in Rule 70 (c) of the
International Criminal Court (ICC) Rules on Procedure and Evidence.
Most of the countries in Southeast Asia like Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, peg the age of consent at 16, meaning, sexual
intercourse with a minor under 16 will be treated as a sex crime and is punishable
in their common law even if consensual. Only the Philippines has the lowest which
sets it at 12 while Japan and Vietnam at 13.
Promoting womens rights and gender equality Rape is a crime involving power
relations between the offender and the victim, and rooted in male dominance and
female subordination. It is no doubt, the result of disparities in the status and
situations of women and men; between the more powerful and the oppressed. The
Anti-Rape Law should be viewed from a perspective that promotes the right of the
more vulnerable groups and ensuring their freedom from violence.
Responding to International Commitments
Article 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women (CEDAW) called on the States Parties to condemn discrimination
against women in all its forms, agree to pursue by all appropriate means and
without delay a policy of eliminating discrimination against women. The 2006
CEDAW Committee Concluding Comments on the 5th and 6th Philippine Country
Report raised concerns over the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 and recommended the
repeal of the provision pertaining to the extinguishment of the criminal action.
The CEDAW Committee also recommends that concrete measures be taken to
ensure that all legal procedures in cases involving crimes of rape and other sexual

offenses are not affected by prejudices or stereotypical gender notions. It

specifically recommends reviewing the definition of rape in the legislation so as to
place the lack of consent at its centre.
Alignment with National Priorities
Amending the Anti-Rape Law is consistent with item 13 on Gender Equality of the
governments 16-Point Agenda which states, from a lack of concern for gender
disparities and shortfall, to the promotion of equal gender opportunity in all
spheres of public policies and programs. More importantly, it responds to the
mandate of Congress under the Magna Carta of Women to amend or repeal laws
that are discriminatory to women.
The PCW proposes the following salient features of the new Anti-Rape Law:
1. specify that rape is a sexual assault that violates a persons right to personal
security and bodily integrity with the essential element of lack of consent;
2. the crime is committed by:
a. a man who has carnal knowledge of a woman without her consent,
whether or not the woman suffers injuries;
b. a man touches or inserts his penis into the females inner or outer vaginal
labia, without her consent, whether or not the woman suffers injuries;
c. a man who touches or inserts his penis into another persons mouth or anal
orifice, without the persons consent, whether or not the person suffers
d. a person who touches or inserts any instrument or object, including a
finger, into the genital or anal orifice of another person
3. the crime is committed under any of the following circumstances:
a. through force, threat or intimidation;
b. through the use of weapon, or other external force causing physical
injuries, maiming, disfiguring, or endangering the life of the victim;
c. through fraudulent machination or abuse of authority;
d. in coercive or other similar circumstances rendering the complainant
incapable of giving consent, including forcing another individual to sexually
assault the victim;
e. when the offended party is under sixteen (16) years of age[13] or is
demented or is deprived of reason or is unconscious for any reason, even
though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present, however,

minors, aged fourteen to sixteen, may be proven to have consented to sexual

activity with a partner who is not more than five years older, provided that,
for children who are legally able to consent to sexual activities, the accused
is required to have taken reasonable steps to ascertain the victims consent.
4. define consent as the voluntary agreement to engage the sexual activity in
question, which must be proven such that:
a. the victim understands what is being proposed;
b. the victim is aware of the societal standards of what is proposed;
c. agreements or disagreements will be respected equally;
d. both parties enter into the relationship or proposal voluntarily; and
e. both parties are mentally competent[14]
PCW also calls on the Supreme Court to consider issuing a Rule on Trial of Rape
Cases [15] which may include the following:
1. application of the rape shield rule as provided for in Section 6 of RA 8505
2. guiding principles on the appreciation of evidence in rape cases
3. child and gender-sensitive decorum for lawyers, prosecutors, judges and
other court personnel during trial of rape cases