When comedian Vice Ganda joked (in
his comedy concert last May) that if broadcast journalist Jessica Soho would
ever do a bold scene it always has to be a gang-rape scene, that makes light of the crime of rape and of
the horror that rape victims have gone through and are likely still (and will
forever be) going through -
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Vice Ganda: “Ang hirap nga lang kung si Jessica Soho magbo-bold … kailangan gang-rape lagi … Sasabihin nung rapist, ipasok ang lechon!… Sasabihin naman ni Jessica .. eh, nasaan ang apple?” (See the You Tube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V20f5QL69Uw )
When word got around about the joke and criticisms started to pour, Vice Ganda went on TV and said:
“… Tungkol naman po doon sa isyu ng rape, na ginawa ko raw katatawanan ang rape nung gabing iyon. Lahat po ng nakapanood noong gabing ‘yon - na nasa konsiyerto - umuwi ng bahay nila na walang naalalang ginawa kong katatawanan ang rape. Pero hindi ko na ulit i-ju-justify kung ano ang ginawa ko. Kung ano’ng ginawa ko’ng tama, kung ano’ng ginawa ko’ng mali, hindi ko na po i-ju-justify.
Gusto ko lang klaruhin sa lahat na hindi ko po kailanman gugustuhing kutyain ang sinumang rape victims. Wala akong intensyong masama, na pagtawanan ang mga rape victims. Alam ko po’ng seryoso ang issue tungkol sa rape kaya hindi ko po ginawang seryoso na pagtawanan ang rape victims. Wala po akong intensyong masama.
Gayun pa man, kung mayroon pong nasaktan, humihingi po ako ng paumanhin. At sa lahat po nang nakisali na sa isang maliit na isyung ito na pinalaki nang pinalaki na nagmukhang national issue na nagsimula sa isang simpleng biro, kung hindi niyo po nagugustuhan ang pagpapatawa ko, paumanhin sa inyo. Kung hindi niyo po ako nauunawan, paumanhin po ako sa inyo. Sa mga nakaunawa nang mahusay sa mga biro ko, maraming maraming salamat.
Ako po ay tao, mukha lang akong kabayo. Hindi po ako perpektong komedyante. Alam ko po sa sarili ko, nakasisiguro ako, na hindi lahat ng jokes ko ay nakakatawa. At wala naman po’ng komedyante na lahat ng joke ay nakakatawa. Mayroon at mayroong isang taong tatayo at magsasabing “Hindi naman ako natawa.” Depende ‘yan sa kung paano mo tatanggapin….” (See the You Tube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hQYjZoGznY )
It is one detestable act to joke about rape but to joke about rape, be criticized for it and still justify the joke, that’s worth double the condemnation.
There is nothing about rape that should be made light of
By making rape a part of a joke, rape is trivialized, even seemingly condoned as a behavior. That may not be the intent but that is the effect. By making light of the most horrific act any human being could go through, one makes light of the crime and the trauma of a rape victim. Thus, it is irrelevant where the joke is made – be it a comedy bar or sports stadium.
If the justification for the rape joke is that it is a joke, then the same should be funny even if the comedian and the audience knew there was a rape victim in the audience. Because, after all, it is just a joke. Yet, it is inconceivable under such circumstances, that the rape joke would even be made and that if the comedian were insensitive enough to make it, the audience would still find it funny, because no normal person can make light of rape and a rape victim’s trauma in the victim’s presence.
We’ve all seen how a talented comedian can make fun of people’s faults and experiences to their face and still get laughs especially from those he’s making fun of because they know the circumstances personally and they realize the humor involved. But what can victims of sexual abuse, their loved ones, friends, advocates, lawyers and sympathizers possibly find funny about sexual abuse?
Education is key
That someone can make a rape joke or that people laugh when someone jokes about rape, reveals more about the level of education of the comedian and/or the laughing audience more than anything. For what human being educated about the trauma that, say, a 5-year old sexually abused victim goes through, can find humor in anything even remotely related to rape?
Note that the GABRIELA Women’s Party, an advocate for women’s rights, was one of the first to come out against Vice Ganda’s rape joke. Even Jessica Soho, whose weight Vice Ganda repeatedly ridiculed in the same comedy skit, protested not the weight jokes but the rape joke (although making the weight jokes constitute bullying which is another issue worth raising). Because people like them know better.
We should all condemn sexual abuse any way we can by condemning those who commit it, those who abet the crime, and those who (consciously or not) make light of it.
We should not enable a culture that makes light of sexual abuse
People like Vice Ganda, those who defend him and those who do not make a stand against them must be made to realize the kind of culture that is perpetuated by making light of sexual abuse. Otherwise, instead of the horror and anger that we should all be feeling when the topic of sexual abuse comes up, the society will be made to think that, hey, gang-raping a woman like Jessica Soho is funny.
The MTRCB and ABS–CBN must also be taken to task, the first for not expressing that sexual abuse should not be made light of in any venue -
and the second for lacking the indignation (if not sanctions) necessitated by the actions of their talent (Vice Ganda).
What else can we say? Can we just all agree, as a society, that only those who actually experienced sexual abuse be allowed to treat it lightly for only they would know if indeed there is something light about it. Treating sexual abuse lightly also includes using rape as a metaphor.
We must realize that people can be violated physically by criminal acts and emotionally by insensitive remarks. Some may find difficulty in seeing the line between good and bad taste. We must ensure we help each other discern the difference lest we lose our humanity.