Father-Daughter Sexual-Assault: “Tay, ‘wag po!”

“Violated all limits of humanity and showed no repentance over his offence, this is a TOAST.”

A teenage girl thought that she and her family were living a normal life. But then she discovered that she had been sexually abused ever since the age of 10. Twelve years on, she recalls that devastating day and the traumatic events that followed.

Family is the basic unit of the society. As a group of related people, it mainly works for the development of its children to let them grow as good citizens. Teaching them in life and how to cope up from mistakes is part of growing up within their progress.

As children went on to teenage life, parental guidance and a solid control over their teens is done which is to say that the father as the head of the family would govern the life of his 12-year old daughter in particular. Through their years inside their house, teaching them the essence of discipline and moral conduct is number 1 in the checklist of a Father.

However, child neglect or abuse on the part of individual parents occurs continually and regularly, leading other members to accommodate such actions. Children sometimes grow up in such families with the understanding that such an arrangement is normal.

Here enters what we call, dysfunctional families that are primarily a result of co-dependent adults, and may also be affected by addictions, such as substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, etc.), or sometimes an untreated mental illness. Rape cases such as father – daughter sexual assault is an example. He is forcing his daughter to do unnatural sex, by slapping, and other kinds of cruelty. Sexual assault includes coercion, physical threats, abuse of power/ authority or incapability of the person to give consent for instance he has mental disability, underage or unconscious.

A teen-sex-abuser father do not believe that what they do is wrong. They convince themselves that his daughter wants it to happen as much as they do; indeed, it is not uncommon for them to blame his daughter for leading them on. It is in this denial that the danger to other teens lies. If an abuser does not believe that what he does is harmful, he has no reason not to do it again.

Rape is not a new case to the Philippines. Ever since, there are a number of rape incidences happening over the country. One of these cases is the “father-daughter rape case” wherein the father forces his daughter to have sex with him through intimidation, authority or physical threat. Most of these victims are under the legal age. According to PNP Women and Children Protection Center, 75.5 % are child victims of rape from 1999 to present. The department of social welfare and development conducted a report on the prevalence of rape cases by age group. The report shows that ages 14-18 are the ones who are involved in this incident.

          Being the father of victim, it was his duty to protect her from any such assault but he himself violated all limits of humanity and committed rape upon her.

Frat-Sor Violence

Enduring almost seven weeks of rigorous hazing–paddling, face-slapping, body-punching and worse–and he/she became a respected brother/sister for it.

Fraternities, sororities and other organizations has become a staple in the Philippines education system. Unfortunately, some practices present today in fraternities defeat the purpose of brotherhood and camaraderie. Frat-Sor related violence has become rampant and is subjected to hazing and inhumane acts.

Man as a social being, is definitely in need to belong in a family, group, tribe, club, organization or community. For some who seeks the allure and exclusivity, brotherhoods or sisterhoods, fraternities and sororities, street gangs, military units and secret societies are held for that special sense of belonging, kinship, and bonding- as for the promise that membership in this different kind of community of men and women will guarantee lifelong benefits, privileges, reassurances, and advantages in the long run. In return, one accepts the ethos of a brotherhood/sisterhood, following set of ideals, and commitment to a code of silence.

Young people who were interviewed observed that there were benefits to be earned by joining a fraternity/sorority: “For social purposes” (Shera Mortejo, UPV); “To have connections and affiliations”(Zsareena Zabala, UPV); “To boost self-esteem” (Sean Labastida, UPV); “For them to have people to rely on especially in times of troubles” (Arniel Lisondra, MSU-IIT);  “To have another family. To belong. To fit in. To be loved” (Lala Calle, UPV);  “To gain acceptance and feel some kind of belongingness. Some also join for quest and thirst for power” (Syrine Podadera, FEU); “Promised protection & security, social elevation” (Clyde Aguillon, UPLB); “To not feel alone.”(Dan Borongan, UPV); “Peer Pressure”(Aizel Divinagracia, USC); “They can’t find love with their family” (Davy Abella, USC); “Sense of “damayan”(Dua Uriarte, SU); “Personal preference- maybe their parents were fratmen”(Emman Aller, UPV); “They feel safe and settled that they have people who share similar beliefs and values”(Jessa Temelo, UPV) “To gain respect”( Kenneth Baay, SPUS); “Sponsorship and solid connection” (James Luchavez, UPV); “It is one way of being cool”(Gabriel Lerona, UPV); “For greater circle of friends and the benefits after college like easy job application”(May Ann Ybañez, UPV); “Academic support”,(Joeylyn Terania, UPV); “To be able to learn and use the learnings as an instrument to give service to fellowmen, having a family and fun activities” (Kulit 5th)

If there are pluses, there are also minuses. There are gray areas in which one shouldn’t forget. Often, the violence is meted out with measures of restraint. But one too many times it is dispensed with savage and unrestrained brutality, with pledges beaten to a pulp. And sometimes, in the name of fraternity, death occurs. The underlying fact is that the term called “hazing” can possibly account during any Fraternity or Sorority initiation rites. Basically, it has been a practice as a part of the initiation rites to be conducted. It’s a form of conditioning that, in theory, is said to teach pledges the meaning of authority and loyalty (by bullying them into submission), foster camaraderie among new recruits (by collectively subjecting them to pain and humiliation), and make them value the privilege of being accepted into the brotherhood (by making them work hard to get in).

Even though that these seem like noble intentions, the problem with hazing is that it can get too far. Sometimes, these traditions are left in the hands of late teens and early 20’s college students which is to say that they are unsupervised young adults that might be drunk and lack knowledge of how much physical and psychological torture the human body can tolerate. As a matter of fact, 82% of deaths from violent hazing involve alcohol.

Men and women are willing to suffer through the hazing rituals of physical and psychological abuse for that fraternity/sorority. Heavy doses of both can result to extreme degrees of physical violence and degrading insults. The so-called “Neophytes” are meant to humble pledges to their “Lord Masters”.

The consequences of psychological abuse are often hidden. But sometimes, after the hazing, beneath the seeming normalcy, there is a lifetime of psychological scars or wounds that never heal.

For physical abuse, the marks are visible, usually caused by the most common form of abuse in the tradition of hazing that is “paddling”- MUCH WORSE THAN IT SOUNDS, MUCH MORE THAN A PADDLE. The consequence is often inflicted with brutality, almost always, causing the part of the body to “ube”- the vernacular for the bloody bruising. In the name of  frat/sor, the ability to endure the brutality is considered a measure of bravery, resolve, and worthiness.

Taking the risk is not that easy to fall into. A lot is being said and written about the recent fraternity hazing incidents that killed a student and severely injured three others from the De La Salle University—College of St. Benilde, and critically wounded another from the University of the Philippines. Fingers are being pointed, legislative bills are being submitted, investigations are being conducted, and lawsuits are being filed.

Numerous incidents happened in the Philippines with Frat/Sor issues. But in that case, one should not put the blame mutually on all existing fraternities and sororities. As the government seeks to form a task force to ban frat/sor, many reasons compromises it because fraternities and sororities have a place in society. Besides, fraternities provide for various human needs — a surrogate family, a place for young men and women to forge friendships, bonding, and trust, a milieu of kindred spirits, a place to experience community. It is the hazing that is the unnecessary ritual, and the deaths from it so senseless.

Despite the deaths and known risks, some sororities and fraternities continue with their conspiratorial regimens of torture. Despite having been criminalized by Republic Act 8049 more than a decade ago, the deaths continue. Despite “zero-tolerance” edicts and sound bites, when hazing season comes around, schools and universities turn a blind eye, waiting for the next death—when it becomes the occasion for the usual public outcry, condemnation and condolence.