Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let us not condemn Nicole

This past couple of days, Nicole's affidavit has graced the news a few many times. Opinions have been drawn that it just feels right to write about it. After all, I have been reading a lot of derogatory statements about Nicole already, and it is sad to say the least.

I feel bad for Nicole. I stand by my statement that she remains the victim. She has been judged long before the guilty verdict came out a few years back. It has been a long and hard struggle for her. Sya na nga ang ginahasa, kailangan pa nyang patunayan ito sa harap nang korte at nang buong bansa. This has been the dilemma of rape victims, having talked to a few myself. Then, there are those who just keep the crime to themselves. But that is a different story altogether. What made this case all the more controversial is the person who raped Nicole. Who is Daniel Smith?

All we have to know is that he is a member of the most powerful Armed Forces in the world, worse, he is protected by an onerous treaty: the Visiting Forces Agreement. He is detained at the US Embassy, not really having a rough time. As the case unfolded, the defense painted a picture of Nicole as a woman with loose morals. A whore. They claimed that the sex that took place was consensual. Ginusto mo naman eh, pero ngayon, nagrereklamo ka. Imagine the pain this woman endured for years.

Nicole has her reasons why she gave up. Who are we to castigate her? If I, or anyone else, was in her shoes, can I go through the same ordeal: weathering the tough cross-examination, media scrutiny and the tremendous pressure put on her by the US and RP governments? Would it be very hard to understand why she wanted to move on, why she wanted to go somewhere where she hopes no one would recognize her as the woman raped by the US serviceman?

She was judged then and is still being judged now. Let us not condemn Nicole. Let her be.

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