Statement of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) on the Subic Rape Case

The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS), an organization of women who have been cited for their outstanding service to Philippine society have thrown their support behind Nicole, the 22-year-old woman who was allegedly raped by four American servicemen in Subic in November 2005.

TOWNS women give Nicole their unqualified support because: (a) violence against Filipino women, in any form, should not be tolerated; (b) rape is the ultimate violation of a woman’s dignity; (c) military partnership with the US, notwithstanding, foreign servicemen should be subjected to due process in accordance with Philippine law; (d) despite the passage of RA 8505 (An Act Providing Assistance and Protection for Rape Victims) in l998, which represents important affirmative action, very little has been done by Government to effectively protect victims of rape or sexual assault; (e) the prolonged legal process is expected to exact a heavy emotional and financial burden on Nicole’s family, which has very limited means.

What has caused particular outrage is the way Nicole was taken into a van, brutally raped and then thrown onto the sidewalk while the servicemen hurried to beat the deadline to get back to their departing ship.

As a first step, TOWNS has established the Justice for Nicole fund representing direct donations of TOWNS members. These TOWNS members have also grouped themselves to implement a media campaign as well as a legal strategy for the long haul.

TOWNS foresee a long battle to achieve justice for Nicole. The lack of sufficient government support, especially in the preliminary investigations and from our Department of Justice is quite evident. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales made disparaging remarks about the mother of Nicole, showing ignorance about the trauma which families of victims of rape undergo, even before he decided to downgrade the charges against three of the accused marines from principals to accessories. To make matters worse, Gonzales declared that his initial sympathetic assessment was made only “to appease the mob”. .

TOWNS is appalled at this weak sense of justice and national pride. Filipino women should not be used as pawns of the Government and its allies especially in collaborative undertakings such as “anti-terrorism” and “globalization”.

In its defense of Nicole, TOWNS hopes to guide the public in examining the “Twin Laws” on rape, — RA 8353 and RA 8505, the principal author in the Senate of which is TOWNS member Letty Shahani. RA 8353 redefines rape as a crime against the person and therefore becomes no longer a private crime against chastity , but a public crime. RA 8505 requires the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide medical and psychological assistance to the victim and the family, and the DOJ and the DILG to regularly train their key staff in the meaning of rape as a public crime and the implications of gender equality. So far, no rape victim has won a case in this country under these new laws.

By supporting the case of Nicole, TOWNS wants to help restore the dignity and true value of Filipino women by insisting that the laws of the country which empower women should be enforced by the authorities and respected by foreign governments with whom the Philippines enters into agreements.

TOWNS exhort other women’s groups to also come out and support the Nicole Defense Campaign. Contributions to the Justice for Nicole Fund can be coursed through TOWNS. Please call the following telephone numbers for more information: 6374260 or 6374259.

JUSTICE FOR NICOLE. JUSTICE FOR ALL FILIPINO WOMEN VICTIMS OF RAPE.

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5 Comments

  1. erika said,

    December 5, 2006 at 11:05 am

    it is my assignmnt to research and give opinion about this case my question is the decision of the subic rape case justifiable?

  2. eric said,

    February 3, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    absolute not! nicole failed to prove her case beyond reasonable doubt! the job of the prosecution is to present a story that is clear and can withstand beyond the shadow of doubts. anyone who followed this case and can say that there’s no doubt left as to guilt of the accused, then bias has ruled over one’s head.

  3. daisy said,

    February 3, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    i respect the organization’s noble objective, but in your haste to further your cause, you picked the wrong case! there are thousands of rape and and sexual abuse cases that are reported in the philippines annually, where have you been all these times? is it because these cases will never show up in the media? Is it because the victim is a maid or a farmer or fisherman’s daughters?

  4. daisy said,

    February 3, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    absolute not! nicole failed to prove her case beyond reasonable doubt! the job of the prosecution is to present a story that is clear and can withstand beyond the shadow of doubts. anyone who followed this case and can say that there’s no doubt left as to guilt of the accused, then bias has ruled over one’s head.

  5. August 16, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.


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