I am a single parent. My wife passed away last year and I have been having a really tough time raising my daughter who is now 14 years old. What made my life more difficult to bear is the fact that my daughter just opened up to me that she was raped by our neighbor who is around 30 years old. She told me it happened last month but she was too afraid to open up. She only decided to tell me about it after seeing on television that a girl her age was courageous enough to file a case against her rapist. My mother and I had my daughter checked by a medico-legal, and we were told that there were healed lacerations. I just want to know if we could still push through with filing a complaint considering that the wounds on her private parts have already healed. We really want to find justice for my daughter. Please advise me.
The crime of rape is punished under our laws. As provided under Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended by Republic Act (RA) 8353 (The Anti-Rape Law of 1997), the crime of rape is committed:
“1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following circumstances: a) Through force, threat or intimidation; b) When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and d) When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.
2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.”
The first kind of rape under the first paragraph of Article 266-A of the RPC, requires the presence of the following elements: “(1) That the offender is a man; (2) That the offender had carnal knowledge of a woman; (3) That such act is accomplished under any of the following circumstances: (a) By using force or intimidation; or (b) When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or (c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; or (d) When the woman is under 12 years of age or demented” (The Revised Penal Code – Criminal Law, Book II, Sixteenth Edition 2006, Luis B. Reyes, p. 525). Under the second paragraph of Article 266-A of the same law, the following elements must be established: “(1) That the offender commits an act of sexual assault; (2) That the act of sexual assault is committed by any of the following means: (a) By inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice; or (b) By inserting any instrument or object into the genital or anal orifice of another person; (3) That the act of sexual assault is accomplished under any of the following circumstances: (a) By using force or intimidation; or (b) When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; or (c) By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; or (d) When the woman is under 12 years of age or demented” (Id., pp. 525-256).
Appropriately, you, in behalf of your daughter, can pursue the filing of a criminal complaint for rape against her perpetrator if you can prove that the elements of either of the kinds of rape above-ementioned was indeed committed against her.
It bears emphasis that the presence of lacerations is not an element of either of the kinds of rape. Further, the presence of healed lacerations does not refute the fact that a victim was indeed raped. As explained by our Supreme Court in the case of People of the Philippines vs. Evangelio et al. (G. R. No. 181902, August 31, 2011; ponente, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta):
“x x x The court held that the absence of fresh lacerations does not prove that the victim was not raped. A freshly broken hymen is not an essential element of rape and healed lacerations do not negate rape. Hence, the presence of healed hymenal lacerations the day after the victim was raped does not negate the commission of rape by the appellant when the crime was proven by the combination of highly convincing pieces of circumstantial evidence. In addition, a medical examination and a medical certificate are merely corroborative and are not indispensable to the prosecution of a rape case. x x x”
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.