Content warning: This article will talk about murder and rape
Flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera’s life was cut short on New Year’s Day shortly after she was found unconscious in an empty bathtub in a Makati hotel. The 23-year-old was rushed to Makati Med, where she was pronounced dead with a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Dacera had been celebrating the New Year with three of her friends—and eight strangers, friends of her friends, who were invited without her knowledge. The Makati police said they have reason to believe that these people were involved in her death.
According to Inquirer.net, a provisional charge of rape with homicide have been filed against the 11 persons who were with Dacera that night. The charge is currently provisional as the Makati police are still waiting for the autopsy findings and the toxicology report which will be submitted today, Jan. 5. Makati City police chief Col. Harold Depositar also noted that without a testimony from witnesses, the rape angle would still have to be established. Three of the suspects are now in custody, while eight remain at large.
While we don’t know yet what happened that night, what we do know is that rape is never the victim’s fault. The blame falls entirely on the rapist and any bystander who did nothing to stop it. If it were true that Dacera was raped and subsequently killed in that party, the responsibility lies on the rapist, her killer, and the friends who had failed her. It’s frustrating that we still need to keep saying this, but it’s not what the victim wore or drank or anything else but the rapists who cause rape. The onus should never be on the victim. Drunk girls should be protected, and the only consequence of a long night of drinking should be a hangover, not this.
It’s mindblowing that though we have yet to know fully what happened that night, some people are already victim-blaming Dacera, saying on social media and in the comments section of news stories on her death that it was her fault for getting drunk with a group of men. She was with friends, she trusted them. It wasn’t her fault that her trust was taken advantage of, and that the friends she was with had failed to protect her and may have enabled her death.
The police have also noted that the 11 suspects were a mix of gay and bisexual men. While we need to point out that you should never assume one’s SOGIE, we also need to point out that your SOGIE doesn’t absolve you of your actions. If the rape slay is true, these people may either be the perpetrators or enablers.
While we wait for the Makati police’s update, let’s remember that Dacera was a person who had a whole life ahead of her. Whatever the findings state, she deserved better than to have that life cut short.