A death will always be a death, no matter how you spin it. The weight of the tragedy doubles, triples, and increases interminably, when you find out that possibly eleven men caused it, and the death was the result of rape. The death becomes more than just death, but cold-blooded murder, one committed against a most helpless of victims. It goes without saying that we need to sit down and talk about certain things, things that were probably not spoken of at home, between mothers and sons, or fathers and sons. These things are locked down deeper than illicit Marcosian wealth.
It’s about the nature of power, respect, and being humane.
Filipino males, in particular, are raised in an environment that is largely unsuitable for being essentially humane. The priority has always been to become ‘stoic,’ ‘strong,’ and ‘unreadable.’ To be unreadable to others is considered an advantage – because emotions are viewed as a weakness. A Filipino male is expected to exhibit only a limited range of emotions – happiness and anger, in particular. Happiness for celebrating victories, and anger for controlling those around him. Anything beyond the binary is bizarre, as if you’re no longer fit to be called ‘a man.’ This is machismo (or toxic masculinity) of the worst kind. A person who is prevented from exhibiting a full range of emotions will have a tormented and twisted view of the world. It begins with rearing – how parents treat each other, and how parents treat their children. The patriarchal relations are formed immediately after recognition of the “I.”
In adulthood, these stunted beings view the world as a conquest – a wilderness to be tamed with their bare hands. Any and all stimuli are considered a challenge to the divine masculinity, which gives Filipino males a false sense of entitlement and right to oppress and control others. It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, trans or queer. The masculinity itself is inimical to the existence of life. It only wishes to dominate and eventually, extinguish life in the name of its own existence. Filipino masculinity exists to inscribe its hateful, meaningless existence on the skin and flesh of others. It takes without ever asking. Filipino masculinity is premature ejaculation and telling everyone he’s the biggest stud in the room. Filipino masculinity is a New Year’s party with a flight attendant, and no trace of humanity. Only death follows the Filipino man if he chooses to re-enact the codes of the patriarchal order. And the patriarchal order is headless – it is a ghost that flits from room to room, damning others with its deadly order. It causes life to bleed and ebb away. It is a bathtub filled with water, semen, and a dead body. And for that alone, it must be extinguished from our very culture.
As the beast thrashes and demands a sacrifice, a choice must be made. If a woman were intoxicated in front of you, you don’t do anything to the woman. You try to ask the woman if she can go home on her own. If she doesn’t respond, you make sure she doesn’t hit her head anywhere. You make her as comfortable as possible, so she can sleep it out. And then you step away. The moment you cross the boundary, and you impose your will and power over a helpless body, you allow the beast to find its meal. And you become a cold-blooded killer, because rape takes away so much more than life. It takes away the right to one’s body. It takes away free will, which is the very basis of sentience and independence as human beings.