“Walang Rape sa Bontoc” is one of the most powerful and moving documentaries that I have watched. It discusses varieties of clear evidence which pertain to their main project or issue. It illustrated the highlights behind the true reasons and problems in the said topic. First, the screenplay and cinematography were really good because it actually portrays the characteristics of the Bontoc culture. I must say that their research is well done. The sequences of the scenes are well executed. The facts within the documentary were properly explained. It started with the main question which is, ‘What makes Bontoc a rape less society?’
Prof. Jean Brett had written a powerful statement on a book, stating that Bontoc has no law or punishments for rape. The documentary has enumerated six factors and reasons why Bontoc people were not into ‘rape’ forty years ago. These aspects of their culture and lifestyle clearly made sense to answer our main question.
Spiritual and moral belief; the people there give huge respect for women. They believe that rape or sexual harassment is such a bad thing. Someone who committed a criminal or bad deed in their tribe must be an outcast. They seem not to forgive someone who has sinned or wronged, that’s why people were afraid to commit an offense against their beliefs. When I look at it from a positive perspective, I think this belief of them is an extremely good idea. Because our society nowadays is engaged in different heinous crimes, and if we’ve got to reinforce this kind of attitude among Filipinos, our country will probably be a zero crime society. Somehow, I knew it was beyond my imagination, it can never happen… there are bad things ensuing around the globe, it’s a sad thing, yet it is also the truth. All we’ve got to do is to know how to move and keep alive in this jungle-like world. As a woman, it is very relevant to me if every man would grant the respect we needed as a person because I believe that God made us as basically good.
Physical Structures; Men and women automatically separate from each other when they reach the adolescent or puberty period. Girls live in ‘olog’ while men are in ‘ato’. It shows how much respect men offered women in their tribe. They have this kind of houses to prevent from getting pregnant without knowing what really happened between a man and women. Their houses have no concept of privacy, no locks on their doors so that when something bad happens, they could easily know. There were no reports of stealing, theft, and robbery. People are not capable of doing such.
Tribal war; if there is a war occurring between tribes, women have their so-called special powers. It is when a woman pulls her skirts up and shows her genital to the opposing tribe, they will eventually retreat from fighting. The main reason is that they believe that men should not look from where they came from.
Gender Ideology; In terms of gender, women receive high reverence among men. Men are entitled to respect women. They easily move on when a girl does not like them. Like for example, in courtship, if a girl rejects a boy, then the boy will look for a new girl to love. It is a good concept wherein no harm and harassment happen. They said that if a man abuses a woman, he is no longer recognized as a true man.
Perceptions on Relationships, Nakedness, and Sex; they said that Bontoc people have no notion or perspective in romance. They actually believe that a way to a woman’s heart is to give her fire woods as a sign of love. They did not know how to hold hands, kiss, make a public display of affection, and the like. All of which we have known from the movies, here in the urban and other rural areas. They simply love each other. Men and women used to show their affection by helping one another in their problems. Women wore no top or shirt on, their breasts were not covered and everyone has no malice. There is a statement that has caught my mind, “Noon nga, walang suot na pang-itaas ang mga kababaihan, tapos walang nangyayaring rape kasi walang malisya eh… Bakit ngayon? ‘Pag nagsuot ka ng shorts, it means that you are inviting rape?” Indeed, a statement full of sense.
Life in the Terraces; There is no specific division of labor in men and women, not like what we’ve known these days. In their tribe, men are the ones who take care of their children and do household chores, they are capable of doing a women’s job. While women used to plant crops in the rice fields. They interchange labor and tasks in order to achieve productivity in their everyday life.
The factors in achieving a rape less society in Bontoc are slowly disappearing. That is why several cases of rape have been committed, a total of 12 in one of their barangays, which is considered many for them. One main issue why this occurs is the emerging modernization. It started when foreigners came and invade their culture. It is quite saddening to know that women from Bontoc started to wear blouses or tops because they became ashamed. There is already malice. They are influenced by the films brought by other countries. The concept of rape has arrived in their community.
Rape cases at the present time are dramatically increasing. As for a woman, I am more than bothered. I felt mercy for those women who were being abused and harassed. This shouldn’t be happening. I just hope that someday, we will be able to rebuild our society and step by step, turn it to a rape less civilization. I knew it was a very enormous proposition–a hard job, but we can do it if we really wanted. We have to try hard or harder to achieve this kind of civilization. Even though it’s far from reality, I still wish we can.
I really do hope.