social issues, crime and punishment

Victim blaming: Dimple Morcillo and her many other victims

faceless woman (©Priscilla du Preez)

woman (©Priscilla du Preez)

Alexander Butal is not the only victim of Dimple Morcillo. There are a lot more and they deserve attention.

Morcillo is just one lady who unfortunately just became the poster child of false accusation in the Philippines. But she is many. She is just one of the may false accusers both of this generation and the previous ones, of her home country and all other countries.

This is one of the good sides of technology. It is easier to establish facts and spread them to the public.

Without technology, Morcillo could have falsely accused Butal of molesting her inside the electronic jeepney in Bambang, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines more than a week ago and easily gotten away with it. Thanks to closed-circuit television, the accused was able to immediately prove his innocence.

Majority of the Filipinos easily defended Butal and condemned Morcillo. We are now celebrating justice.

But what do we fail to see here? It is the fact that Butal is not the only victim.

The bigger victim is the long list of real victims of molestation in the Philippines in this generation. Now, it is harder for them to come out and tell their truth.

If you have never been a victim of molestation, it is difficult for you to understand why molestation victims behave the way they do. You, the lucky ones who have never been molested, do not understand why other (many) victims did not fight back (or scream) when they were being molested or run away although they had the chance to. You do not understand that because you have never been in that situation when you know what is being done to you is wrong and you do not want it but your body and mind, not used to such a situation, just freeze.

It is hard for you, again the lucky ones who have never been molested, to understand why some victims choose to be silent. Others are just scared. Others just do not want to give their molesters one more chance to be part of their lives even if that means getting justice. But others break their silence after a long time, after either gathering enough courage or realizing that justice is necessary.

For those who speak up after a long time, it is no easy. The timing will be questioned. Memories will fail you. The perpetrator has gather enough credibility or good reputation to earn the respect of the public.

“Why only now though?”

“The timing is fishy.”

“After many years? What’s up with that?”

That is the first challenge a molestation victim faces. It is hard to prove your story when there is to CCTV footage and the other details seem illogical (like not escaping from the incident when it was apparently possible).

The second challenge is the shame, which should be self-explanatory.

The third challenge is victim-blaming. Even if the victim has established the truth about the molestation and has braved the shame that comes with it, the society, for some reason, will blame the victim.

“You were asking for it.”

“Next time, dress properly and probably you will not be molested.”

“You are not even pretty enough to be molested.”

Considering the present culture the Philippines has when it comes to weighing in the statements of molestation accusers and the accused ones as well as the victims and the molesters, it was already difficult to become a victim and tell the public about it for the purpose of seeking justice. Now, it has become even more difficult, thanks to this one Dimple Morcillo.

“This is just another case of Dimple Morcillo.”

“Here comes another false accuser.”

“This reminds me of that case in the e-jeep that went viral and aired on ‘Raffy Tulfo in Action.'”

On the one hand, it is good that there will be fewer people put to jail for something they are not guilty of. On the other hand, there will be fewer real victims of molestation speaking up.

There is no way we are trying to diminish the gravity of the fact that Alexander Butal was indeed a victim of false accusation. We are just trying to emphasize that Dimple Morcillo, thanks to her false accusations, made the lives of the many real victims of molestation in the Philippines even more difficult. Those victims who are starting to gather courage to come out from the closet most likely changed their minds and locked themselves there.

Again, thanks to Dimple Morcillo.

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