Broadcaster Ben Tulfo defends rape slur after being accused of ‘victim blaming’

How embarrassing is it for a 65-year-old man to be called out by a 19-year-old over archaic views about rape? Apparently, broadcaster Ben Tulfo might have an idea.

Tulfo defended himself on his radio program today after he was called out for perpetuating rape culture by singer Frankie Pangilinan, who took a stand against victim-blaming after a provincial police station warned women against wearing skimpy outfits so they could presumably avoid being sexually assaulted.

“All these publications that have published views on the subject…calling me out on victim-blaming, that’s fake news,” Tulfo said in English and Filipino on his radio program Bitag (“Trap”).

“I always tell you the truth whether you like it or not, so here’s the truth, Philippine Daily Inquirer, stop your fake news…the same goes with you Rappler… There’s a difference when you say you’re blaming the victim for rape, I never said that. To [blame me] for promoting the culture for rape, do I look like a person who promotes the culture of rape?” Tulfo said.

“I never said that I’m blaming the victims. Let’s get it straight, this is not a blame game. I said, ‘Let’s not awaken the beast within the criminals,'” Tulfo added.

The whole viral scuffle started on Friday when an incensed Pangilinan reacted to a now-deleted Facebook post of Lucban Police Station in which they asked girls “not to wear skimpy clothes” to prevent sex crimes.

To which Pangilinan tweeted in all caps, “STOP TEACHING GIRLS HOW TO DRESS?? TEACH PEOPLE NOT TO RAPE.”

Then on Saturday, Tulfo tagged Pangilinan in a tweet, condescendingly calling her “hija (daughter)” and proceeding to say that sex offenders’ desire to commit a crime will always be there.

“All they need is an opportunity, when to commit the crime. Sexy ladies, careful with the way you dress up! You are inviting the beast,” Tulfo wrote.

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Pangilinan replied to Tulfo’s post saying, “[T]he whole point is ‘the beast’ shouldn’t exist, not even for the sake of misplaced masculine insecurity.”

“Rape culture is real and a product of this precise line of thinking, where the behavior is normalized, particularly by men. The way anyone dresses should not be deemed as [an] ‘opportunity’ to sexually assault them. [E]ver,” she added.

“Calling me hija will not belittle my point,” Pangilinan added about Tulfo’s tweet. The 19-year-old then changed her name on Twitter to “hija” as an added jab.

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Pinoys were quick to take the outspoken singer’s side, with human rights activist Frank Baraan dismissing Tulfo’s tweet as “actually mansplaining the psychology of misogynistic sexual deviants.”

Pangilinan is the eldest daughter of highly popular actress Sharon Cuneta and Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

The elder Pangilinan yesterday backed his daughter, saying he had flashbacks of his years of activism at the University of the Philippines and was proud of his daughter for sticking up for her views.

“Now I know what my dad felt when I was marching, protesting, and fighting as a student leader in UP Diliman in the ’80s during the [martial law] dictatorship,” he said in English and Filipino.

“Go ahead then, Frankie. As my father, your grandfather Dony, sought to understand what I did then despite the risks, so it is with me and you,” the senator wrote.


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