In recent weeks, famous personalities have hogged the limelight after figuring in controversies: on the local scene, there's the mauling of actor Vhong Navarro due to the alleged rape attempt on model/entrepreneur Deniece Cornejo. In Hollywood, multi-awarded director Woody Allen's adopted daughter Dylan Farrow recently spoke about the sexual molestation she experienced as a child in the hands of her own father. Their common denominator: (alleged) rape.
What is rape? We all know rape as being forced against your will to have sexual intercourse. While this is correct, rape is not so simple. There is also rape when the victim is threatened or intimidated into having sex, when the victim is unconscious or otherwise incapable of giving consent to the act, or when rape is committed through fraud or grave abuse of authority.
In other words, it is rape if the victim did not give his/her consent, which must be clear and certain. If the victim is under twelve years of age or is mentally handicapped, then he/she is considered as incapable of giving consent, so any sexual act committed under these circumstances is automatically deemed as rape.
It used to be that the act of rape is committed when a person has “carnal knowledge” of a woman—but Republic Act 8353, or “The Anti-Rape Law of 1997” has broadened this definition to include acts which aren’t necessarily limited to sexual intercourse. Under this law, rape can also be committed by anyone by “inserting his penis into another person's mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.” With this provision, rape was broadened to include rape committed against a man, something that was lacking in the earlier law.
Marital rape Can rape be committed within a marriage? Is there such a thing as marital rape? The answer is yes, there is such a thing as marital rape. A woman has the right to refuse intercourse with her husband if she doesn’t want to do it. As long as the sexual act was done against the spouse’s will, then there is marital rape.
Republic Act 9262 or “The Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Law” also specifically states that sexual violence can be committed by the woman’s husband, boyfriend, or sexual partner, through rape, or by forcing the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force, threat of force, physical or otherwise, or through coercion.