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Philippines Martial Law Victim: Hilda Narciso #NeverForget

Hilda Narciso was a church worker during the Marcos dictatorship. She was abducted in Davao City in 1983. She was gang raped and even fed with rotten fish with worms by military men. After her release, she talked about her experience to start the healing process.

Making women talk: rape and military interrogation

Hilda Narciso was a church worker during the Marcos dictatorship . She was abducted in Davao City in 1983. She was gang raped and even fed with rotten fish with worms by military men. After her release, she talked about her experience to start the healing process.
Hilda Narciso. Source: ibiblio.org
This story, about a thirty-seven-year-old unemployed Filipina teacher, is reprinted from Magdalene, a Sydney (Australia) Christian feminist journal, no 2, June 1983, p4. While the account is dated, it is worth noting the comment of the contributor, Mandy Tibbey of Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace in The Philippines: "This is a terrible thing and happens more often than we would think, but usually the women are ashamed to have it known."

Subversion suspect Hilda Narciso reported that she was raped several times and subjected to other forms of sexual indignities by her military captors on the night of March 24. Narciso is at present detained at the 431st Philippine Constabulary (PC) barracks in Davao City.

Narciso was one of those arrested last March 24 when around thirty heavily armed military men raided a house along Bolton St in Davao City. Two other persons and German pastor Volker Schmidt were also arrested. On March 24, after searching the house, the military men decided to bring the four to their headquarters, Narciso narrated. It was around midnight. Anna Mae Morallos and Jethro Dionisio were pushed inside a sky blue car parked outside. A dark blue car arrived fifteen minutes after Morallos and Dionisio had left. A man in plainclothes, whom Narciso identified as a certain Ponce of the government intelligence unit R-2, led her to the back seat of the dark- coloured car. All in all, there were four men — the driver, another who sat next to him and two other men who flanked Narciso. She was then blindfolded and warned "Ayaw pag-eskandalo ha gusto mo pang mabuhi" (be quiet if you want to stay alive).

Minutes later, the men started threatening her again, and began touching the upper part of her body. When she tried to struggle she was told that they were driving along the seashore and they could just throw her out of the car. The man next to the driver then interrogated her and insisted that she was a "member of the movement and a funder from Manila". The car stopped around twenty minutes later. After the men had sounded the horn twice, she heard two doors being opened. Several persons came towards them as the driver parked the car. She was led inside and, upon reaching the end of the room, made to sit. She was subsequently raped.

"Alam namin 'yang arte mo!" (we know that play-acting of yours!) several men shouted while Narciso recited prayers. About four men took turns raping her, while others pressed on with the interrogation. She was repeatedly threatened, at the same time that she was being sexually abused. A little later, she heard the loud scream of Dionisio from another room in the place; she recognised Morallos' voice from the distance, answering the questions of an interrogator.

It must have been early in the morning of March 25, Narciso wrote, when two men led her to the stairs — about fourteen steps away from where she previously sat. They turned left at the landing and entered another room. Only one of them was left behind. He warned that she would be salvaged if she did not tell the truth. Narciso was again raped in that room. The man finally led her downstairs. Still blindfolded, they tied her hands at the back with a belt. The questions started coming again while the men freely touched the private parts of her body. About an hour later, she was again brought upstairs. One man was in the act of raping her when he was stopped by two others. She was then dragged out of the room, only to be subjected to more sexual abuse by two men.

It was daylight when Narciso was finally allowed rest. She was given a glass of milk and biscuits upon the admonition of one of them that she must be taken care of as she would be useful later. At around 9 a.m. on March 25, Narciso was permitted to take a bath. Wearing the same clothes, she was led upstairs and interrogated. She was transferred to Camp Catitipan in Davao City on March 26 and was later brought to the 431st PC barracks.

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