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THEY say bad luck comes in threes. In our case, it’s bad news.

An Austrian jury convicted Josef Fritzl to life in psychiatric prison on charges of homicide, enslavement, rape, incest, forced imprisonment and coercion in an incest drama that has shocked the whole world. Fritzl imprisoned his daughter, Elisabeth, in a rat-infested dungeon beneath their home for 24 years, fathered seven children with her, raped her for years, sometimes in front of their children. He will not be eligible for parole for the next 15 years. But Frankl is now 73 years old, and most probably will not be suffering for the same number of years suffered by Elisabeth in torment, anguish and desperation that is beyond description. Frankl is now even under suicide watch lest he decides for a quicker way out.

Closer to home, rape convict Romeo Jalosjos is now a free man, released after thirteen years of incarceration for raping an 11-year-old girl back in 1996. Incarceration the Jalosjos way meant having your own pad, with the amenities of a resort hotel, and a steady supply of books and DVDs. We common folks call that a vacation getaway. He walks away a free man, unapologetic and even contemplating actions seeking for a new trial. His victim, now 20-something in age, probably still has nightmares, and may find it hard to trust a man enough to know the joys of a romantic relationship.

And then there’s “Nicole.” Nicole, who in 2005, became our epitome of a fighter, a courageous victim without any hesitation to battle it out with five US military servicemen, one of whom allegedly violated her while the others cheered on. Nicole was then regarded as a party girl “who asked for it,” “who deserved it.” Many stood by her, nonetheless, for we know even prostitutes who get paid for sex have the right to say “no.” Many believe her in this country where marital rape is actually punishable.

Nicole, was caringly shielded by women activists in all her hearings; suffered from severe traumatic stress, but with her testimony nevertheless withstanding the cross examination; and stood between towers of power for and against the VFA. Now after conviction and pending appeal, Nicole comes forward with an affidavit, a “recantation” of sorts. In her affidavit she claims that she now doubts whether she was really raped in 2005, that she “was drunk and may have lost her inhibitions” that night and that she’d “rather face public outrage than do nothing to help the court ensure that justice has been served.”

I too hope that justice is served, Nicole. I hope you had willingly signed that affidavit, which I hope contained the truth as you now claim it. As you gallop away to the ends of the earth with your knight in shining armor (as reported) – leaving all of us shocked in the aftermath of it all – I have nothing but good wishes for your happily ever after.

I hope your “recantation” contains the real truth, and that you were not just pressured into signing it. Otherwise, you would have been raped twice over, only this latter time is way worse than the previous violation on your person.

sunstarbaguio. 27march09.

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