Women’s party leader to check on ‘rape victim’ in Okinawa

Women’s party leader to check on ‘rape victim’ in Okinawa

A Filipino legislator is set to leave Wednesday for Japan to personally assess the case of an alleged Filipina rape victim and look into the situation of Filipina migrants and overseas performing artists (OPAs) in Okinawa.

“The Gabriela mission to Okinawa hopes to give Hazel the much needed moral and legal support in this uphill battle for justice,” said LIza Maza, representative of the women’s party, Gabriela.

Hazel is a Filipino overseas worker allegedly raped by a US serviceman three days after she arrived in Japan on February 18, 2008.

Earlier reports said Hazel was invited by an American serviceman stationed in Okinawa to dine with him after work.

However, the suspect denied the allegation and insisted that Hazel consented to have sex with him.

Japanese prosecutors in Okinawa dropped the case against the US serviceman due to “lack of sufficient evidence.”

After the case was dismissed, militant groups in the country vowed to support the victim’s family.

“Hazel needs the support of her kababayans now more than ever, especially since the Arroyo government’s neglect and inutility in her case and its obvious complicity with the US government has made justice even more difficult to attain for Hazel and her family,” Maza said.

The lawmaker will also accompany Hazel’s mother “Nanay Melly” during the five-day “Mission to Okinawa.”

“We hope to be able to properly assess what the Philippine government has done and failed to do in Hazel’s case so that we will be able to take the next appropriate steps to make the perpetrator accountable,” said Maza.

Maza is scheduled to meet with Hazel and her custodians, officials of the Okinawan government and the Filipino community in Okinawa.

“Like Hazel, Filipina migrant workers in Okinawa, especially those working in places near the US military bases, are in a situation that exposes them to much violence and sexual abuse. There is a very good chance that Hazel’s case is not the only one. The responsibility to ensure their safety and the protection of their rights falls squarely on the Philippine government. Their failure to do so make them accomplices and liable,” said Maza. With reports from Lilita Balane, abs-cbnNEWS.com

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