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Statement of Commissioner Karen S. Gomez-Dumpit, Focal Commissioner on Women and LGBTQI+ Issues, on Victim-blaming and Gender Stereotyping Amid the Investigations in the Christine Dacera Case
The Commission on Human Rights is deeply concerned and alarmed by the victim-blaming and gender stereotyping amid the investigations in the killing of Christine Dacera. These acts disrespect the victim and cause further anguish to her family. Similarly, the alleged perpetrators who are members of the LGBTQI+ community are negatively affected.
As the Gender Ombud, the Commission takes this occasion to reiterate that victim-blaming is unacceptable, especially in cases of gender-based violence. Instead of responding to the act of violence in this case, as well as addressing the root causes of the human rights violation, victim-blaming is a violation of a woman’s dignity and shifts the focus of the investigation on what the victim wore, the company she kept, and the places she went to. It trivializes the violence and demonizes the woman, as the blame cast on her creates the perception that “she had it coming,” making her unworthy of protection and remedies. It must be remembered that the crux of gender-based violence cases is the acts of violence committed by the perpetrator, and never the character of the woman. We must all strive to stop victim-blaming.
Undeniably, rape is a grave and serious human rights violation requiring an urgent and immediate response from the State. The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee requires no less than the exercise by State authorities of due diligence in responding to all cases of violence against women. In investigating and discussing circumstances surrounding an alleged case of rape, all forms of victim-blaming are unacceptable. We remind the public that victim-blaming and reliance on gender stereotypes impact access to justice. These ultimately deny women protection from violence.
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