Friday, May 2, 2014

'Something bad happened to me'

Alano talks about her rape -- examiner.com's screen grab from the podcast



So said model, VJ and actor Kat Alano, in her appearance at Mo Twister’s podcast, GTWM (Good Times With Mo) on Thursday, April 24. The two-hour clip can be easily searched on YouTube; her narrative begins 55 minutes into the show (previous minutes show people asking for advice on their relationship problems).

Alano claims she was raped nine years ago by a “well-loved public figure”. It has taken her this long to come to terms with the fact that she had, indeed, been victimized.

It happened one night when she was 19. She went out to a bar with her friends and started drinking. The guy came in and, because they moved in the same show biz circle, she greeted him. They started chatting and he bought her a drink.

Soon afterwards she felt tired and decided she wanted to go home. The guy insisted that he drive her home. Alano hesitated, but he assured her that his driver would be following them and that he would leave as soon as he saw she was safe in her apartment.

But the guy did not leave. He ushered her into the elevator, took her keys from her hand and opened her door. Alano says she was saying no all the time, but her body could not protest as much as her mind was telling it to. She felt strange (Mo Twister raised the possibility of her drink having been spiked with something else; she agreed, although she said she did not think of it at that time).

She passed out, and she woke up and passed out again several times, to find the guy pulling down her jeans, and then lying on top of her, and then trying to calm her every time she started freaking out.

Much later, when the deed was done, the guy buzzed her on the cheek, said goodbye, and left like nothing had happened.

Early this year, she started writing cryptic posts on social media, followed by some articles about rape on www.juan.com.ph. She admits that with the events of the past few months, specifically in the case of Vhong Navarro, Cedric Lee and Deniece Cornejo...”certain things triggered my own traumatic experience."

Finally, sitting alone on that orange couch in her friend Mo's show, with just a microphone for company, vulnerable and uncertain and struggling to come to terms with her past, Alano did say, once and for all -- “Yes, I was raped.”

But for deciding to speak up, something bad is happening to Alano all over again.

**

It’s a firestorm of criticism, hateful comments, disgusting names.

She has been called a wh*re, “pokp*k”, “nakikisawsaw sa issue,” desperate to be famous. That she asked for it, she deserved it, she did not have credibility, that she had an Attention Seeking Disorder. And many more hideous words.

“It’s like being raped all over again.”

Many are taking her to task for speaking up only now, nine years after her supposed rape. Alano said she had been trying to will her experience to go away -- and only now admitted that it would not. Indeed it does not matter if it happened yesterday, or nine months ago, or nine years ago. It never goes away. Or diminishes with time.

Kat Alano is a liberal woman who poses in her underwear and dishes out advice on sex and relationships. On that evening many years ago, she made the decision to go to a bar and get drunk. She allowed a man to bring her home. And for many years, she turned the matter over and over in her head, wondering why she allowed it to happen to her, whether she could have done anything to keeep it from happening, if maybe she was at fault.

This is a common dilemma of rape survivors.

“I can’t afford the legal aspect of the case,” she said. To this day, she has refused to name the man who had raped her. She says she is not ready especially since he is supposedly has a large fan base. That we are not hearing any names yet is also being used to demolish Alano’s credibility. For now, however, she is aware that given her assailant’s popularity, she does not stand a chance.  In time, she will gather the courage to identify her abuser. That is a day to look forward to.

This is a sad indictment of the legal system in this country, as well, when victims refuse to come out because they know doing so will only expose them to ridicule as if their experience were not harrowing enough. In the meantime, the powerful, the popular, the well-loved -- can go on projecting a persona who can do no wrong.

In the end, Alano bewails the fact that she is the one being shunned. “All I really wanted was to go home that night.”

Alano says that rapists are not creatures who hide in dark alleys, who live alone and have no friends. On the other hand, they appear normal, functional, and live amongst us.

There is a culture in this country that punishes not the abuser, but the one who cries “rape.” This is Kat Alano’s tragedy. Ours, too.

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