April 5, 2010
Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chair of GABRIELA USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fil-Am Women Denounce Adam Carolla’s Promotion of Sexual Exploitation of Filipinas
Demeaning Comments of CBS Comedian Underscores Necessity of GABRIELA’s IVOW Campaign To Combat Violence Against Women Including Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children
GABRIELA-USA condemns Adam Carolla’s repulsive comments disparaging Manny Pacquio and joking about sex tours in the Philippines. “There is nothing funny about the sexual exploitation of women and children and the illicit sex trade in the Philippines. Adam Carolla and CBS should issue a formal apology. It is these types of irresponsible comments that help reinforce the culture of violence against women” says Raquel Redondiez, Chairwoman of GABRIELA-USA.
The extreme poverty and reprehensible sex trade at the expense of women’s and children’s bodies is rooted in decades-long neo-colonial relationship that the Philippines has had with the United States. While Carolla wrongfully blames the Filipino people for these deplorable realities, the truth is that the primary driver of the sex trade in the Philippines is the history of United States military presence in the Philippines since the Spanish-American War.
For over a century, U.S. imperial power has been maintained in the Philippines through wars of aggression often fought on women’s and children’s bodies through rape, prostitution, and sex trafficking. “The comments are not only ignorant, racist, and demeaning to all Filipinos, but they are also harmful to the thousands of women and children who are involuntarily trafficked and forced into the sex trade every year as a result of the Philippine nation-state’s impoverished economic conditions.” says Terrie Cervas of SIGAW, a Los Angeles-based group of Filipinas.
Since the Philippines’ nominal independence from U.S. colonial rule in 1946, U.S. military bases were banned from the land. However, the U.S. has been able to evade justice by enacting the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which has allowed continues U.S. military presence throughout the archipelago. The VFA has promoted the prevalence of U.S. military personnel to act with impunity. U.S. military presence in the Philippines promote the sex trade industry, resulting in massive cases of sexual exploitation including the involuntary rape and trafficking of women and children. “We have not forgotten Nicole who was raped by U.S. Marine Daniel Smith and the countless other Filipino women and children who have been victimized as a result of institutionalized racism and American media’s hypersexualization of Pinays.” says Valerie Francisco, Chair of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, a New York- based Filipino-American group.
To combat institutionalized violence and oppression, especially towards Filipino women and children, GABRIELA-USA launched an educational campaign in February called “iVOW to Fight VAW”. The campaign seeks increase awareness and raise public condemnation of violence against women (VAW), as well as education diverse communities on the root causes of the different forms of violence. Carolla’s crude comments have proven the need for such conversations to continue in order to fight violence against women and children.
GABRIELA-USA is a national alliance of progressive Filipino women organizations and an overseas chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, with Babae in San Francisco, Pinay Sa Seattle, Sisters of Gabriela Awaken in Los Angeles, and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment in New York City.