MANILA, Philippines ? Incidences of rape of women and children has marked an ?alarming? increase in the first half of 2010, with authorities partly blaming social networking sites and the Internet.
The Philippine National Police Women?s and Children?s Protection Center (WCPC) reported that for the first six months this year, there were 1,724 cases of rape against children, with Calabarzon region registering the highest number of cases with 236.
For women, there were 490 reported rape cases in the first half this year, with Metro Manila registering the highest number of cases with 71.
WCPC director Chief Superintendent Yolanda Tanigue said the current data was already over 50 percent of the data for 2009. Throughout the entire year of 2009, there were 3,018 rape cases against children and 762 rape cases against women.
The latest case that gained national attention was the gang rape of a volunteer nurse in Maguindanao. The victim still remains confined at the hospital while police arrested seven people in the crime.
Tanigue said children were raped as young as nine years old. While in the previous years, incidences of incest were high, police said the trend this year involved rape of strangers.
Tanigue attributed this to the boom of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
?The popularity of these websites has a big effect on rape cases. Most of the rape cases are connected with Facebook and even texting,? she said Friday, at the sidelines of the PNP?s celebration of Children?s Month this October.
The official said that sex predators would find their prey on Facebook. Predators usually pose as someone with the same age as the target and during meet-ups, or ?eyeballs,? they attack the victim.
?These incidents are very alarming,? Tanigue said, adding that most of the suspects are out-of-school youth.
Police have advised parents to protect their children against these sexual predators.
?If your children are going home late, make sure to have a trusted adult accompany them. Children and women should also avoid dark places,? she added.