It was an unusual reunion of mother and daughter. Nanay Mely visited Hazel in Okinawa, Japan last week. After knowing the details of the sufferings Hazel endured in the hands of an American soldier, Nanay Mely would have wanted to bring Hazel home. But her daughter is determined to fight, and so is she.
BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Volume VIII, Number 25, July 27-August 2, 2008
Nanay Mely, together with Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Representative Liza Maza and other GABRIELA officers visited Hazel in Okinawa, Japan last week. Hazel, 21, was allegedly raped by an American soldier in an Okinawa City hotel, Feb. 18.
The Okinawa police identified the suspect as Sgt. Ronald Edward Hopstock Jr. of the 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment.
When she saw Hazel, Nanay Mely told Bulatlat, “Di ko napigilan, umiyak ako habang niyayapos siya.” (I could not control my tears, I cried as I hugged her.)
She said that Hazel was smiling; she asked her why. Hazel told her, “Hindi na ako iiyak, matapang na ako.” (I will not cry any more, I have become courageous.)
When she heard the details of the rape incident, Nanay Mely said, “Grabe pala ang nangyari. Pakiramdam ko, malalagot ang hininga ko, kinukurot ang dibdib ko… Parang gusto kong sumigaw pero pinigilan ko sarili ko. Ipinapakita ko sa kanya, matapang ako. Iniinom ko na lang ng tubig.” (What happened to her is terrible. I felt I could not breath, my heart was aching…I wanted to shout but I controlled myself. I tried to show her that I am brave. I just kept on drinking water.)
On Feb. 17, Hazel went out with Hopstock together with five other Filipina entertainers and US Marines. Initially, she hesitated to join them but the other entertainers egged her on, saying they would just eat out and roam around the city.
They had dinner. Then, the US Marines invited them to go to the New Century Hotel in Okinawa. Hopstock refused and said he just wanted to go to a videoke bar instead. Because of that, Linaban related, he gained Hazel’s trust. Hazel thought she was safe with him.
The other Filipina entertainers told Hazel that they would meet later. When Hazel wanted to return to their apartment, Hopstock took her to the hotel saying that her friends were waiting there.
Unknown to Hazel, Hopstock had already reserved a room at the hotel. When they arrived there, she called up one of the Filipina entertainers. The Filipina said she would already sleep and they would meet at 6 a.m. It was already dawn.
Linaban said, ”Akala niya, mapagkakatiwalaan niya, natulog na siya. Nagising siya, pinupwersa na siya.” (She thought she could trust him so she slept ahead of him. When she woke up, he was already forcing himself upon her.)
Nanay Mely related, ”Pumasok siya sa CR habang iniisip kung anong gagawin, maraming dugo ang lumalabas sa kanya, buo-buo niyang dinadampot.” (She went inside the comfort room, thinking what to do. She was bleeding profusely. Clotted blood dropped out of her.) Nanay Mely showed her fist, saying the blood coming from Hazel was of that size.
She continued, “Nagmamakaawa siya, duguan. Wala siyang bihisan. Ibinalot sa kanya ang damit ng militar, iniwan siya nang makitang hindi maganda ang lagay niya.” (She was begging for help, she was full of blood. She had no spare clothes. The soldier wrapped his uniform around her but he left when he realized that she was in such a bad state.)
Before Hazel lost consciousness, Nanay Mely said that Hazel was able to get the name of the soldier from the hotel’s front desk. When Hazel regained consciousness, she was already in an ambulance.
Nanay Mely said the doctor told Hazel that she could have died from serious bleeding. ”Kung di malakas ang loob niya, mamamatay na sana siya.” (If she is not strong enough, the doctor said she could have died.) ”Kung namatay siya, hindi ko matatanggap.” (If she died then, I could never accept it.)
She said, ”Kawawa talaga, walang nag-aalaga. Mag-isa lang siya noon sa ospital.” (Her condition was miserable, nobody took care of her. She was alone in the hospital.)
When asked about what the government did to assist Hazel, Nanay Mely retorted, “Galit ako, hindi nila tinulungan ang anak ko. Kung naghintay lang ako ng tulong ng gobyerno, walang mangyayari. Kung hindi ako gumawa ng paraan, kawawa ang anak ko.” (I am angry, they did not help my daughter. If I waited for the government’s help, nothing would have happened. If I did not make a move, my daughter would be helpless.)