A short film about a false rape accusation by a child is being criticized for allegedly feeding the stigma against rape victims.
The three-minute film titled “Virgin Marie” which is available on Youtube shows a young girl weeping while she recounts how her father sexually abused her.
A conversation with an adult in the next scene reveals that she was merely rehearsing for a testimony for litigation.
According to the video’s description, the film was produced by the ‘SAWAKAS AGAW-EKSENA PROJECT,’ which worked on translating stage performances to short films.
It’s other short films can be viewed on the production company’s Facebook page. Most of its films are comedy shorts.
A number of viewers however have voiced their criticism of the film. The recurring sentiment is that the film only adds to the stigma surrounding child rape in the country.
According to some, the film has only perpetuated the idea of rape myths in a country where child rape is still a problem.
Some have called out the film’s director and writer, Darryl Yap, who also directed and wrote most of the films on the production company’s filmography.
The #Vincentiments film #VirginMarie is not only problematic; it is a problem. When 3 out of 4 REPORTED rape incidents in the past 15 years incidents involve children, insisting on defending a film that undermines children’s assertions & testimonies is a problem.@DirekDarrylYap https://t.co/nraFX7NqMF
— Chance the Rapper Stan Account ? (@highreaching) August 19, 2018
Some have pointed out that other elements of the film are already problematic in light of the severity of the rape problem.
On the "Virgin Marie" short film na title pa lang may problema na:
– 7/10 rape victims are children
– 80% of rapists are known to victim
– Age of consent in this country is just 12 years old
– There is no physical way to determine virginity because it is a social construct!!! https://t.co/EbqpinZqCG
— Millennial Mangkukulam (@mncpxiedrmwitch) August 19, 2018
Yap in a series of tweets defended his opus and fired back at critics who labelled him as ‘pro-rape.’
In one tweet, he acknowledges the pain rape and abuse victims go through but recognizes how some people have fallen victim to false rape accusations for the sake of personal gain.
hindi tama na i-tag mo ko as a PRO-RAPE person.
Ikinalulungkot ko ang nangyari sayo pero hindi lang ikaw ang may pasan na krus. Ayoko magpaskil ng statistics pero marami rin ang walang salang pinerahan at ginawan ng kaso dahil sa rape.
Wag mo kaladkarin lahat sa kalbaryo mo. https://t.co/30ucmaorzJ
— Darryl Yap (@DirekDarrylYap) August 19, 2018
Statistics on rape and child abuse
Rape and sexual abuse of women and children remains one of the leading crimes in the Philippines.
The Center for Women’s Resources group reported in March 2017 that one woman or child is raped every hour in the Philippines.
Children’s rights group Humanium meanwhile reported that at least 60,000 to 100,000 children are involved in the sex industry as of 2014.
These children are forced to engage either in both cyber sex and actual sexual intercourse, resulting to unwanted pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases.
The trauma from the fallout attaches to the children until adulthood, according to international rights group Unicef.
Recently, there have been calls for legislation to raise the age of consent in the Philippines from 12 to 16 years of age, following more reports of child abuse and exploitation.