Hontiveros to Duterte: Degrading women not freedom of expression
MANILA, Philippines — Degrading women is not freedom of expression, Senator Risa Hontiveros asserted as she tagged President Rodrigo Duterte the country’s “chief misogynist.”
Hontiveros said this after Duterte defended himself following criticisms against him over his sexist remarks.
“Anong klaseng kabastusan ito? Saan nakalagay sa ating konstitusyon at mga batas na pwedeng bastusin kaming mga kababaihan at yurakan ang aming dignidad bilang mga babae?” Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“May I remind President Duterte that freedom of expression rests in the realm of human rights. It is interrelated with other rights. Thus, the exercise of specific rights should also advance others and not derogate them. In this context, an individual’s freedom of expression should never negate other rights, such as the right of women to be free from violence,” she added.
Duterte has been criticized over his sexist and misogynistic remarks such as shooting the vagina of female rebels, rape jokes, as well as “spit” remarks against his female critics, among others.
The opposition senator said that sexist and misogynistic verbal attacks serve as a way to disparage women and contribute to the “growing climate of sexism and misogyny in the country.”
“Anti-women remarks reinforce sexist behavior, gender stereotyping and discrimination against women that leads to violence,” she said.
“When the President says that it’s okay to rape women, he promotes the rape culture, which ultimately, could lead to women getting raped,” she added.
Hontiveros said that Duterte’s “violent and anti-women rhetoric” has “set into motion the killing of thousands, the left and right death threats against Catholic priests and sexist verbal attacks online and off against women opposition leaders.”
The senator, however, said that the President’s latest remarks did not come as a surprise.
“What do we really expect from the country’s chief misogynist?” she said.
She also urged fellow women to fight all forms of violence and discrimination against them.
“I encourage my fellow women to continue to close ranks and stand up against all forms of violence and discrimination against women,” Hontiveros said.
“While we celebrate our hard-fought victories, we will continue to push back. We will not allow this to become the ‘new normal’ and get used to it. We will not be complicit in this despicable culture,” she added. /je
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