Rape: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Rape: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Moon and stars

Apt to the present controversy affecting a famous actor-comedian, this article is begging to be written.

As a factual backdrop, the actor-comedian was mauled by a group of men to allegedly effect a citizen’s arrest. Apparently, this band witnessed first-hand the crime of attempted rape against a 22-year old model in the latter’s own posh condominium unit. On the other side of the spectrum, this actor-comedian is crying set-up/entrapment and extortion. These are the barest facts. Facts to which we are all witnesses to; at least to what media has been feeding the air waves and print in the past couple of weeks. The issue: was the actor-comedian set-up or did he really attempt against the honor of the young model?

In view of the above issue, the perennial question about rape is again brought to light. Where do you draw the line?

To fully understand the above query, it is important to first know the nature of the crime. And what better way to do this than to refer to its legal source, i.e., the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law of 1997. The pertinent provisions of the same are hereto provided, thus:

“Article 266-A. Rape, When and How Committed. – Rape is committed –

  1. By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under the following circumstances:
    1. Through force, threat or intimidation;
    2. When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious;
    3. By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and
    4. When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances above be present.
  2. By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit any act of sexual assault 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.

                      xxx     xxx     xxx

Article 266-D. Presumptions. – Any physical overt act manifesting resistance against the act of rape in any degree from the offended party, or where the offended party is so situated as to render her/him incapable of giving valid consent, may be accepted as evidence in the prosecution of the acts punished under Article 266-A.”

If there is a common denominator as to the circumstances presented in Art. 266-A, it is this: rape is committed when a man engages in carnal knowledge or sexual bodily connection with a woman (Black’s Law Dictionary), without the latter’s valid consent, i.e., voluntary and knowledgeable; nothing more, nothing less. And apparently, those who are under 12 years of age, or who may be older but otherwise demented, are presumed by law to be incapable of giving this type of consent.

Paragraph 2, on the other hand, is also interesting to note. It explains the kind of rape that is non-conventional; the type of rape that makes no gender distinction. And such is expressed, in the most basic terms by the law; so direct to the point that this author opted not to belabour on the matter, at least for the time being.

With the foregoing information, it is now easy to identify the existence of rape. Women who will come across this article will be better equipped in defending their rights against opportunistic bastards. As what the law provides, overt and manifest physical resistance is the key. Although admittedly, this may not completely deter the commission of rape, it will at the very least, make it easier for the advocates of justice to prove the crime’s existence, that is, beyond reasonable doubt.

Unfortunately, what is more troublesome is the determination of the stage of commission. Is it attempted; frustrated; or consummated? As in all criminal cases, this is important because one ounce of reasonable doubt would guarantee unappealable acquittal.

As if heard by the gods of Padre Faura, the Supreme Court put to rest the foregoing gray area in the case of People v. Orita (G.R. no. 88724, April 03, 1990), by finally doing away with frustrated rape. Thus, by judicial precedent, rape can now be only committed either in the attempted or consummated stage. The highest court of the land ratiocinated, thus: We have set the uniform rule that for the consummation of rape, perfect penetration is not essential. Any penetration of the female organ by the male organ is sufficient. Entry of the labia or lips of the female organ, without rapture of the hymen or laceration of the vagina is sufficient to warrant conviction. Necessarily, rape is attempted if there is no penetration of the female organ because not all acts of execution was performed. The offender merely commenced the commission of a felony directly by overt acts. Taking into account the nature, elements and manner of execution of the crime of rape and jurisprudence on the matter, it is hardly conceivable how the frustrated stage in rape can ever be committed.

In other words, it has been indoctrinated in our jurisdiction that the mere touching of the external genitalia, e.g., labia majora, labia minora, etc., is synonymous with penetration, ergo, already the final act for the consummation of the heinous crime of rape.

Going back to our story, it has been reported that the young model already filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor, a complaint for consummated rape against the actor-comedian; not attempted. Could this be the application of the doctrine cited in the Orita case? Maybe. This is just a supposition. Let us wait and see what information media will fill our inquiring minds next.



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