Manila, Philippines – Police in a Philippine town have told women to shun skimpy clothing to avoid rape, sparking outrage in a country that prides itself as an early Asian adopter of liberal Western cultural values.
Women’s groups demanded that police take down Tuesday’s “victim-blaming” anti-rape advice. But it remained on a police social media site on Wednesday, July 18, with the national police chief calling it “brotherly advice.”
“Don’t wear skimpy clothing,” warned the 10-point posting on the official Facebook page of the police force of Angono, a town on Manila’s outskirts.
“When on a date, don’t drink alcohol,” read the list, which also urged women to learn self-defense, carry tear gas or pepper spray and not to walk alone in the dark.
“Clothes don’t cause rape, rapists do,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Instead of ‘teaching’ women how to dress ‘appropriately’ and limit our choices, our police force should help in educating the public, especially men,” she added.
The mainly Catholic Philippines, a former US colony, prides itself on its culture of promoting gender equality.
But critics allege it took a step backward by electing President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his inflammatory remarks about women.
During the 2016 election campaign Duterte joked during a speech that he “should have been first” while recalling the rape and murder of an Australian female lay minister in a 1989 prison riot.
Early this year Duterte said he would tell soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in their private parts because “if there is no vagina, (the woman) has no use”.
Philippine police chief Oscar Albayalde sought to play down the rape advice controversy.
“They (women) can have it their own way, they just have to make precautions and probably you should dress in accordance with the place, with the occasion,” he told reporters.
“I think that’s what our policemen are trying to say, just brotherly advice,” said Albayalde.
He said nationwide rape cases were down 29% from a year earlier in the first three months of 2018 but did not give figures.