President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte's statement has shocked people and raised the concern of human right activists and women advocates when he jokingly stated that rape is acceptable under Martial Law during a speech on Friday.
Duterte’s speech was seemingly trying to encourage the soldiers to do their job when he claimed that he would take responsibility if they had done wrong.
“Fight, and I will pray for you and I will answer for everything,” he said during the speech.
“Just do your job. I will take care of the rest. I will go to jail for you. If you rape three, I will admit it,” he further stated.
According to the Huffington Post, human right activists and women advocates issued out statements following the speech.
Deputy Director of the Human Rights Watch’s Asian division, Phelim Kine stated, “Pro-rape comments only confirm some of the worst fears of human rights activists that the Duterte government will not just turn a blind eye to possible military abuses in Mindanao, but may actively encourage them.”
The Gabriela Women’s Party in the Phillippines also commented on the speech stating, “Rape is not a joke. This attempt to please the military forces using women to feed the macho fascist mentality ... emboldens military forces to systematically use rape as a tool of war,”
According to The Guardian, Duterte’s spokesman did not immediately respond to the rape comments.