We need to talk about that cow
News about a man who was caught raping a cow made the rounds this week. If you are one of the unlikely few who haven’t heard of that ridiculous story yet, here’s a summary for you: Police arrested a man caught having sexual intercourse with a cow in Silang, Cavite. The man, who’s allegedly a serial animal rapist, was presumed to be under the influence of drugs when he did the crime, since drug paraphernalia were discovered on his person.
Almost everyone picked up the story. ABS-CBN delved deeper into the issue when they published an article explaining why having sex with cows is a health hazard. Two words: PENILE CANCER. Now this cow, pregnant during the time of the horrid act, was a rape victim, regardless of her place in this society.
Should the media have exercised more sensitivity in reporting this story?
A lot of media outlets showed the identity of the poor, traumatized bovine. How should her family cope with such unfairness? Well, at least Coconuts Manila blurred the face of the victimized cow. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, on the other hand, used both a cartoonized version AND an actual image of the victim.
It doesn’t matter whether the case involves Bos taurus or homo sapien sapiens: The fact remains that from time to time, the media still fails to responsibly report about rape, such as forgetting to blur faces or revealing the victims’ identities.
Perhaps a part of the problem also lies in wrong, widespread ideas about rape and sexual violence. We tend to put the blame on the victim:
“That’s what she gets for roaming around at night.”
“She didn’t say no and she didn’t fight back. It means she said yes.”
“She was wearing close to nothing—she was basically asking for it!”
“She’s just a stupid cow!”
Kidding aside, it’s high time that we challenge widely held misconceptions about rape, especially now that it’s Women’s History Month.