I remember when I was in high school; my teacher discussed the character of Juli in Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo. In the book, Juli was raped by Padre Camora, and in her shame Juli jumped off a church’s bell tower. In her discussion my teacher made the girls in the class choose, “Buhay o Puri?”(Life or Chastity/Honor).
I thought about that day in class when I heard that Nicole went back on her word that she was raped by American soldier Daniel Smith. Disbelief turned into irritation when I learned that she was paid and given an immigration visa to live in The States.
When it was my turn to answer my teacher, I was one of the few who chose life. I told my teacher that if it happened to me, my attacker might as well kill me because I wouldn’t be ashamed and tell. I always thought that that was a braver approach. Which is why I truly thought it was brave of Nicole to come forward. Especially that she was going up against American soldiers.
But now she’s saying she wasn’t really raped, that she was not forced; that she, saying one of the clichés of all clichés, “got carried away”. After all the raucous she caused, she was lying all the while.
I think about the soldiers whom she accused, their families, and their reputation. Especially Smith; sure he might really be a pervert who likes to take advantage of young girls. But he could also just be a young guy who met a girl he thought he was just having casual sex with. How unlucky he is to have encountered a pathological liar. I overheard someone theorizing that Nicole probably thought she could get knocked up, and have Smith marry her and take her to the States. When she didn’t see that pushing through, she probably panicked and made up the rape thing.
I remember thinking, as naive as it may sound, no girl would lie about being raped. No girl would wish that for any other girl, what more put it on herself. It just baffles me how someone can lie about that happening to her. Isn’t she afraid of Karma? What if something that horrible really happens to someone she knows, a sister or a friend?
What upsets me more about this is that she got paid. She accepted money in exchange for her backing out on her accusations and runaway. When news of her case broke, there were rumors that she wasn’t credible because she works in a night club. I later found out that wasn’t true, in fact she went to a prestigious school. Now I guess she is no different from a prostitute, and thanks to her people around the world would continue to think that all Filipinas are like that.
Some are saying that the sudden change of her mind is all political, so we can maintain our good relationship with the U.S. JG finds it funny that of all the places she can run away to in this planet of ours, she chose to migrate to the same country the men she accused represented as soldiers. Some say she really was raped but chose to be bribed because of another cliché, for a more comfortable life. To live abroad where the grass is believed to always be greener, is what she really wanted in the first place, and now has been given chance; but in exchange is the humiliation of our country and Pinays everywhere.
I know that women today think very differently than back in the day. They have become open-minded about sex, and I must be honest when I say I am too. However, I believe that our beliefs on our honor have only shifted with our culture and society, but we value it just the same. And no matter how modern and liberal Filipinas get, we all still have a Juli inside of us, who would rather die than have our honor shamed. Much less lie, get paid, and use it as a way to get ahead.