Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, September 22, 2006

Women Lie in Support of Filipina National Raped by US Marines

San Francisco, CA-- On the evening of September 15, 2006, members of the Filipino/ American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES) and Women for Genuine Security (WGS) lay in symbolic protest around the Dewey statue in downtown San Francisco.

Gala King, FACES board chair, stated, “We lie here to demonstrate the victimization of women internationally and the disrespect for the Philippines propagated by current US foreign policy. We are in solidarity with Nicole, the victim of this atrocity, and the women of Philippine organizations working with her to seek justice for this crime.”

The silent protest was held in response to US Marines brutally raping Nicole, a 22-year-old Filipina woman, at the former Subic Naval Base in Olongapo, Philippines on November 1, 2005. Currently, the Marines face trial in the Philippines.

The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) between the Philippines and the US allows the entry and mobilization of forces anywhere in the Philippines and limits trial duration. The US military presence as a result of the VFA undermines the sovereignty of the Philippines and has spawned many violations and injustices, such as violence against women.

The Dewey statue was chosen as the site for the silent protest as it inaccurately commemorates Admiral Dewey’s success in ‘liberating’ the Filipinos during the Spanish American War, which set the stage for US entry into the Philippines and the ongoing oppression and violations the US military presence continues to perpetuate.

In preparation of the activity, protestors joined hands and reflected on a statement that Nicole wrote for the San Francisco protest. Nicole wrote, “It is very difficult for a woman to come out and tell everybody that she was raped… To think that I am not even safe in my own country.”

Over 300 people witnessed the event with several signing a solidarity statement that will be sent to the Philippines. Afterward, event coordinator Christina Leaño said, “The number of people that stopped to thank us for the action underscores how this injustice resonates in the hearts of so many.”

The Taskforce for Subic Rape Case, a coalition of women’s organizations in the Philippines, simultaneously held a mobilization. The date was chosen to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the US military pullout from the Philippines on September 16, 1992. Support for justice for Nicole was also expressed at a recent rally against the US occupation in Iraq on September 11, 2006 in Okinawa, Japan. The demonstration organized by FACES and WGS in Union Square represents a part of the larger support efforts seen in solidarity actions internationally.


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