Ted Herbosa, special adviser of the National Task Force against COVID-19, once again drew criticisms after posting a perceived rape joke on his official Facebook account.
In a Facebook post on October 9, Herbosa, who is also the executive vice president of the University of the Philippines, shared a screenshot of an anecdote where a father is comparing rape, romance and marriage to his son.
The father in the story noted that “clothes” is the mere difference among the three, saying:
“In rape, you tear the clothes. In romance, you remove the clothes. In marriage, you wash the clothes.”
Herbosa captioned this with: “Laughter is the best medicine.”
This post had since been deleted from his account. However, some users managed to make screenshots of this and then called him out on Facebook and Twitter.
UP Executive VP: pic.twitter.com/EmfqpdnV0I
— Garrick Bercero (@garrickbercero) October 9, 2020
This is not funny. pic.twitter.com/BjIoJ343BK
— Jai Cabajar (@jaicabajar) October 9, 2020
Calls for apology and accountability
In a statement on October 9, Judy Taguiwalo, former social welfare and development secretary and a martial law survivor, denounced Herbosa for the rape joke. She cited a provision from UP’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Code which stated:
“To this end, the University shall maintain an enabling, gender-fair, safe and healthy learning and working environment for the members of the UP community.”
Taguiwalo’s post read: “It is condemnable under any condition but more so if one is a high official of UP which espouses ‘an enabling, gender-fair, safe and healthy learning and working environment for the members of the UP community.’ Rape joke sharer Ted Herbosa, UP’s Executive Vice President should be educated about rape jokes, which are absolutely not funny at all!”
One woman or child in this country is raped every hour. More appalling is the fact that rape figures are understated…
She then stressed that a woman or child is raped every 53 minutes and that such figures are still “understated” because of the prevailing rape culture in the country.
“One woman or child in this country is raped every hour. More appalling is the fact that rape figures are understated because of fear of retribution shame and stigma, cases of rape remain unreported,” Taguiwalo said.
“Rape jokes are cracked by those who are in the position of power to normalize the criminal act of rape. This is happening amidst the climate of impunity in our society,” she added.
In 2016, the Center for Women’s Resources, a research and training institution for women, also released results that a woman or a child is raped every 53 minutes.
The UP Diliman chapter of Gabriela Youth also denounced Herbosa’s post as unbecoming for a public official and demanded accountability for his actions.
“Gabriela Youth UP Diliman condemns the recent misogynist and sexist posts coming from a public servant, the UP’s Executive Vice President Ted Herbosa. We demand for full accountability and a sincere public apology for this offensive and disrespectful statement,” the organization said.
Gabriela Youth UP Diliman condemns the recent misogynist and sexist posts coming from a public servant, the UP’s…
The group further noted that UP cannot assert itself as a “safe space” if its high ranking officials continued to exhibit “this type of gender insensitive, male chauvinist, and bigot behavior.”
“UP cannot claim to be a safe space for its community when it protects its high ranking officials that perpetuate this type of gender insensitive, male chauvinist, and bigot behavior. Education regarding the matter, acceptance of criticism, and an apology should be demanded,” they said.
Last month, Herbosa also made headlines after he shared a graphic on COVID-19 which claimed that the new pathogen varies on which body parts the symptoms were experienced.
The NTF special adviser also served as an undersecretary of the health agency from 2010 to 2015.
The Department of Health then shared a graphic of its own that states the classification of COVID-19 is according to the severity of the infected person’s symptoms to disprove Herbosa’s claims.