Australian Embassy: Rape, murder should never be joked about
The Australian Embassy in the Philippines has issued a brief statement following a recent controversial remark of leading presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte about the rape of an Australian missionary in a 1989 hostage crisis, which unleashed a social media firestorm over the weekend.
In its statement on Monday, the Australian Embassy said that rape and murder should never become subjects of a joke.
“Rape and murder should never be joked about or [trivialized]. Violence against women and girls is unacceptable anytime, anywhere,” the short statement posted on its Facebook page read.
The statement was not directly addressed to Duterte or mentioned the name of the tough-talking mayor.
In a video clip which has since gone viral, Duterte made reference in a campaign rally to the August 1989 hostage drama in a Davao detention cell.
He said: “All the women there were raped in the first assault and they retreated, but the bodies the attackers used remained there, one of which was the body of an Australian lay minister. Tsk, this is a problem … . The body was brought outside and it was covered. I looked at her face, son of a b****… she looked like a beautiful actress in the United States,”
“Son of a b****, what a waste. I was thinking that they raped her and lined up. I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first, what a waste,” Duterte added, drawing laughs and cheers from the crowd.
The inmates were able to grab their guards’ weapons and seized 36-year-old Australian lay missionary Jacqueline Hamill, along with 14 other church workers as their hostages. The church workers were then conducting a Bible service inside the prison.
Hamill was raped by the inmates.
The two-day hostage drama ended with government forces killing all 15 hostage-takers. Hamill’s neck was slashed. Four other hostages died.
Despite drawing flak from Malacanang, his political rivals and netizens, Duterte has refused to apologize for his remarks, saying that he used gutter language to express his anger over Hamill’s fate.
“It was not a joke. I said it as a narrative. I was not smiling,” Duterte said on Sunday.
He said that he will not apologize for his statements—even if it would cost him the presidency.
“Do not make me apologize for something which I did not do. It’s a matter of honor… I said it in the heat of anger. I am even willing to lose the presidency. Do not make me apologize for something which I did which was called for at that moment,” the feisty mayor said. RAM