Friday ∗ 20 Mar 2009

in defense of Nicole

This is a translation of the transcript of Joms Salvador’s comments on the unthinking and insensitive soundbites that have come out of Nicole’s last sworn statement.  Click here for the original Filipino version.

I could not help but respond to the views this note on Nicole’s “retraction” has elicited.

First, on the basis of what’s preferable or not, it is true that it would’ve been better had Nicole and her family not “backed out”, if they didn’t get tired and just pushed through with the fight. From any given perspective — as a woman, as a Filipino, even as a victim — no one can say that in the eyes of the public, it was better that Nicole had executed her last affidavit.

But on the point of what is right and what is wrong — a moralistic enterprise that has as its by-products the notions of whether Nicole is scared or brave, selfish or selfless, shameful or decent — this should not be an issue here.

The reason is simple: we are not Nicole, we are not the woman who has had to face the distaste and ambivalence of the public, we are not the Filipina victim who is fighting a rapist, protected by both the US and Philippine governments.

Also, given thatNicole has conceded, has backed out at this point, does this mean that she wasn’t raped at all? If we analyze her affidavit well, she did not say that she wasn’t raped. What she said was this: she wasn’t sure if a rape happened. She said that maybe it was her fault, maybe she did or said something that allowed for her and Smith to become intimate.

Nowhere in the affidavit did Nicole say that she was taking back all the circumstances that surrounded the rape in Subic on November 1 2005: Smith carried a practically unconscious Nicole from the Nepture Bar as if she were a pig; Smith raped Nicole inside a moving Starex van; after which, Smith left Nicole on the sidewalk of Alava Pier, with her pants down and a used condom sticking to her skin. No one has said or proven these to be untrue, no one has said that none of these instances didn’t happen.

The Filipina Nicole was raped on November 1 2005 in Subic Philippines.

American soldier Daniel Smith raped her.

The law and the decision of the Makati Regional Trial Court are clear about Smith’s verdict: Smith took advantage of Nicole’s drunken state. Physical and circumstantial evidence proved that Smith raped Nicole.

Or have people conveniently forgotten this so that they can continue to view and judge Nicole based on the stereotype they so wish her to be?

Lastly, in order to understand Nicole and this last decision she has made, it is important to understand what rape is, and what happens to women victimized by it, especially for the ones like Nicole, who was raped by a soldier of the most powerful imperialist country in the world, who holds the most puppet-government in Asia by the neck.

This is the thing to do, instead of brandishing moralistic rhetoric to blame the victim of rape.

between the Philippine Daily Inquirer, among other major newspapers, posting images of her for all the world to see and calling the affidavit a “retraction” which IT IS NOT; between the conservative old men who fight among themselves (wow, namecalling! how macho!) and who think they are more intelligent than the rest of us because they (1) love to quote from the law (as if this has excused the Americans from trampling on this country time and again) and (2) blame everything on activism (as if they know what it means, when all they prove is that it has now become fashionable to be America-loving anti-activist fascists), and the women and men across generations who have said that Nicole is a disappointment, a waste of our time, a loser. what has become clear is this: we do not understand. and like the American soldier Daniel Smith, we would much rather work on the presumption that Nicole was a woman who deserved what she got (oh, pray tell, which kind of woman is this?), instead of seeing November 1 2005 for what it is: the night that a Filipina named Nicole was raped by American soldier Daniel Smith, period.

rape has nothing to do with the social class, the career, the life of a woman — much less how much she drank — at that point of becoming victim. rape has everything to do with a man eaten up by hubris, and imagining that he can get away with violence.

Posted in: aktibismo, bayan, gobyerno, kawomenan, komentaryo, media

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2 Comments/Pingbacks

  1. luisbatchoy
    March 21, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I’m torn myself with this issue, so Im clamming up and keeping to myself what I feel. Godspeed nicole

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