DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Women advocates and the University of the Philippines Mindanao community wants to stop victim blaming from the public on the death of 23-year old flight attendant Christina Angelica Dacera.
Dacera, who died after a New Year’s Eve revelry with friends in Makati, sparked online discussions on the circumstance of the incident, which prompted her batchmates from Communication Arts class of 2017 to write a collective statement posted on their individual Facebook accounts.
“We condemn how the story is being framed by the media. We condemn the lack of empathy shown by netizens on posts about the news and even her own profile. She is more than just a headline or a cautionary tale,” their statement said.
“We refuse to let the circumstances of her death define who she was in life – endlessly forgiving, sincere, hardworking, and excellent in everything she puts her heart to. A filial daughter, a loving sister, a model student, an inspiring dancer, and a reliable forever friend,” their statement added.
Dacera graduated cum laude and was a member of the university’s Dance Ensemble, as shared by UP English Professor Jhoanna Cruz and the university publication Himati in their posts.
Himati added that the victim-blaming is a “revolting tragedy reminds us of the relentless attempts to shrink the democratic spaces of women — a by-product of the macho-patriarchal system in our society.”
“Nowhere is safe when simply existing serves as an invitation for violence to those who wish to violate,” their statement read.
Schoolmates and friends have posted hashtags #JusticeForChristineDacera and #ProtectDrunkGirls on social media to raise awareness.
Jeanette Ampog, executive director of Talikala, also deplored the stereotype that women who drink are inviting people for sex.
“Women who are drunk do not deserve to be raped. Women who are drinking with men is not a permission that they are in for sex. Women who are intoxicated do not have the capacity to give their consent to have sex with you and therefore if you do it, it is RAPE,” she said on her Facebook post.
Dr. Jean Lindo, chair of Gabriela Southern Mindanao, said rape culture does not choose its targets. “Even the most safety conscious target can be victimized. No woman is safe enough in a misogynistic society,” she said.
Police have not disclosed their report to the public to verify if Dacera was sexually assaulted.
Lindo said women advocates have no choice but to engage to make people understand.
“The public left us, women, to fight this in all arenas of debate. If you continue to be indifferent, you might become victims yourselves,” she said.
Ampog added, “Men should be taught that there is a so-called [positive masculinity] and it (does) not make you less of a man if you respect women. Men should learn that sexist remarks and jokes bespoke of your character as persons. Teaching men to view women and girls as human beings instead of sex objects is the first step of liberating themselves from perpetuating a sexist and misogynist society.”
She reiterated that women and girls deserve respect and safe spaces “be it in homes, schools, workplaces, streets, public and private places.”
Police have identified 11 suspects in which three are now in police custody. Authorities said the case is “closed” but Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas said a thorough probe must be conducted.
“We strongly condemn the deplorable circumstances surrounding the death of Dacera as we join calls for truth and justice over this case. This is another proof that women are increasingly under attack in this society amid worsening impunity and shrinking safe spaces,” Brosas said.
Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, believed that Dacera is a “victim of injustice that is now running amuck with impunity” in the country. (davaotoday.com)Christina Angelica Dacera, crime, Makati City, PNP, police, Rape-slay, VAW, Violence against women