The Philippines’ first and only industry magazine that deals with safety and security matters pervading the environment today.

From Nightcap to Nightmare

What might appear as a simple invitation by someone can possibly turn into a nightmare. Just like what happened recently to a college student in Dagupan City in Pangasinan.

According to police reports, the victim recounted that she was invited by the suspect, identified as Warren Castro Que, a businessman, for a nightcap in the latter’s house. She relayed that the then drunk Que raped her, confiscated her cellphone, and kept her in his house for four days. She added that she cannot fight back because Que held a knife against her. She was able to escape the ordeal when she was left alone and saw the gate open. She went straight to her family then reported the incident to the local police, which led to Que’s arrest. Medical examination positively confirmed that the student was raped. Que on the other hand, denied the allegations.

There were no details on how and why the victim said yes to Que’s invitation.

Does she know the guy?

All things considered, it seems she knows the suspect because if she doesn’t, she wouldn’t have accepted his invitation. Is he her friend? Or, a special friend, perhaps? Is he a mere acquaintance? Possible, but who in her right mind would accept an invitation to one’s place if she doesn’t know the guy that well? If he’s a friend, how long have they been friends? If he’s a special friend, how far have they gone as “special friends”? If he’s a mere acquaintance, why on earth did she accept the invitation when all the while she knew that they would go to his house and have a drinking spree Didn’t she think of the repercussions of being alone with the suspect, in his house, while drinking with him? It seems that she was in her sane mind when she accepted the suspect’s invitation. She didn’t even notify her parents about the invitation, which is somewhat illogical.

Why did the suspect deny the allegations?          

The suspect denied that he raped the victim. From a legal context, rape is forcible sexual relations with a person against that person’s will. The suspect might have thought that since the victim said yes to his invitation without hesitation and with her own free will, she’s okay with whatever he did to her. He might be thinking, too, that if the victim really wanted to go home, she would have explored several options to escape even if she’s under close watch. Allegedly, the victim was threatened with a knife – the sole weapon that the suspect has. It seems unlikely that the suspect held her at knifepoint the whole four days. That said, she would have tried to escape several times. Another thing, the victim was accusing the suspect of illegal detention but on the day that she escaped, the suspect’s gate was left open. If the suspect intended to keep the victim imprisoned in his house, he should have all windows, doors, and gates locked.

Is there more than meets the eye here?

When the victim accepted the suspect’s invitation, there’s a presumption that she knows the suspect. In what manner and for how long, authorities did not report or chose not to divulge. That detail could make a significant difference in the probe. And since they were drinking, the possibility of rape could not be discounted. It is possible because once alcohol gets into one’s head everything else comes easy, including rape. Another possibility is that the victim may have voluntarily submitted to the suspect’s demands but things went wrong along the way – it is not improbable that a fight erupted between the two, turning their happy beginning to a terrible end. Did the victim demand something from the suspect? Was the suspect unable to give the victim what she was asking for? Or did the suspect go too far with his advances and violated the victim? Determining the motive behind this case can be difficult considering that the police was not able to extract important details. Authorities were silent about the relationship, possible motive, and the real identity of the alleged rapist except for his name (which can possibly be bogus) and occupation. On the part of the victim, her anonymity may stir some doubts. However, it is her right to remain that way.

But rape is still rape, no matter what the circumstances are.

Rape is still rape, no matter what the circumstance. The fact that the medico legal confirmed that the victim was raped is significant evidence. The manner by which the incident took place cannot erase the fact that rape transpired. The suspect’s denial might make him sound like a blatant liar since nobody except him has come forward to refute the victim’s claim. Nobody knows the truth except him and the victim.

Acquaintance rape

Of all the different types of rape, this story falls under acquaintance rape. This type of rape happens between two people who know each other. Often acquaintance rape is known as “date rape” as the two people involved may be in a social relationship at the time. Some victims don’t recognize acquaintance rape as rape but it’s important to remember that consent for sexual activity can be revoked at any time and a prior relationship does not mean that rape cannot occur. It cannot be called a statutory rape because the victim is a college student as per police report. Statutory rape is committed by sexual intercourse with a woman below 12 years of age regardless of her consent, or the lack of it, to the sexual act. Proof of force, intimidation, or consent is unnecessary as they are not elements of statutory rape, considering that the absence of free consent is conclusively presumed when the victim is below the age of 12. The victim is a college student and deemed old enough to say no to or consent to having intercourse with the suspect. Thus, what happened between her and the suspect can be considered a “date rape.”

Learn to say “NO”

For women, learning to say no and declining an invitation such as this can spell a big difference. It is, to a certain extent, synonymous to being safe. For instance, when you say no to smoking, you keep yourself healthy and when you say no to drugs, you free yourself from all the troubles these dangerous drugs may bring you. In this case, had the victim said no to the suspect’s invitation, she wouldn’t have gone through this ordeal. Agree? Sometimes, it is best to say no to things that may endanger us (girls, especially). It is best to have company all the time, but only the good ones, of course. In the case of the victim, she didn’t even bother to call her family about the invitation. Why? Didn’t she know that family should know her whereabouts? If she truly cares about herself, she should have informed her family that she has been invited to a man’s house and that she decided to accept the invitation. There’s always a way to keep ourselves from falling prey to bad guys out there. We just have to be security-conscious – we need to be wary of red flags, we should keep tab of what’s happening around us and how we can act accordingly. It is in our best interest not to be too trusting. It is best not to accept any drink from a stranger or even to go near them. I remember an old saying that goes, “Use your eyes keenly; if possible keep a third eye on your back so you won’t be stabbed.” I hope women take heed of that.