Rape is never funny, Mr President

All my life, I’ve worked hard to fine-tune my own brand of comedy. It’s still a work very much in progress: puns, real-life stories, and musical parodies make up the cheap laughs I offer.

But to me, what isn’t funny are jokes aimed to make light of the distress and trauma experienced by others.

Like rape.

If we knew the horror of rape,
how deeply it wounds,
how shamelessly it scars on the outside,
and leaves inner trauma that takes forever to heal,
how it replaces one’s joy with fear or anger,
how it changes one’s life forever,
we would not find rape jokes funny,
nor support those who dare tell them.

We must NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER let the telling of rape jokes become something acceptable.

We must voice our displeasure, for the sake of our mothers, our wives, our sisters, and our daughters, and for that matter, for the sake of any of our fathers, our husbands, our brothers, and our sons, for rape knows no gender and does not discriminate against anyone.

Speak up and do not let our nation’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, or any of his apologists including Salvador Panelo and Oscar Albayalde, brainwash the nation and our nation’s protectors, this graduating batch of the PMA, into normalising rape jokes and undermining the worth and value of our fellow Filipinos.

I don’t care if this is calculated. I don’t care if this plays into his playbook. I don’t care if this is intended to draw our attention away from some other underhanded plan. We cannot let this become our reality, our new normal.

Duterte may be president, but he does not speak for me, and if he does not speak for you as well, I challenge you to say so. Write your congressmen, tell your families, do not be quiet.

We are men and women of the Philippines, the Pearl of the Orient Seas, known for our warm smiles, our hospitality, our integrity, and our love for family. Over and over, this man threatens to ruin the reputation of our proud nation.

And that is not funny.