Since airing in November last year, Kapamilya series Viral Scandal served as a catalyst in opening our eyes to real issues mirrored by ‘woke’ characters that stick to their guns and fight. As the teleserye approaches its finale, we list down scenes wherein the characters piped up about contentious issues in the society.
Revolving around Rica (Charlie Dizon)’s crusade for justice in her rape and anti-voyeurism cases, the show boldly tackled false belief system about rape that includes victim-blaming which trivializes its seriousness and drowns the victim in shame and terror to the point of protecting the attacker.
One of the most distorted notions about rape is that dress code contributes to it, which Rica debunked in a scene. She told Rose (Arielle Roces), who dressed modestly due to fear of getting sexually assaulted, that the victim, even her choice of clothing or behaviour, is not to blame for the perpetrator’s actions.
“Hindi mo kasalanan, Rose. Kahit ‘yung pananamit mo o pagsasayaw mo, hindi mo kasalanan ‘yun. Ang rapist, mangre-rape ‘yan kahit nakataklob tayo mula ulo hanggang paa. Kaya hindi mo kasalanan, Rose. Sila ang may kasalanan. Hindi tayo dapat nag-a-adjust para sa mga lalaki. Hindi natin dapat sisihin ang mga sarili natin dahil sa kawalanghiyaan ng iba. Alam mo kung ano’ng dapat nating gawin? Lumaban.”
Still a critical aspect of rape culture, toxic masculinity was also depicted on the show. For instance, Jigs (Markus Paterson) proves his strength and dominance by always getting the girl her likes, as if his sexual conquests are badges of honor, leading to violence.
In another scene, a campus suitor claimed his ‘rights’ over Rica just because he’s showering her with expensive gifts, and when rejected resorted to sexist remarks, which Rica countered, “Ano bang tingin mo sa babae, nabibili?”
Abuse of Power
For the past six months, viewers were immersed in the fictitious town of Sidero controlled by the Ramones family who used their power to make the innocent suffer and distort Jigs' crime by warning his victims.
Archie (Vance Larena), tortured for handing solid evidence to Rica’s camp, killed Jigs’ ego with this dialogue, “Kayong mga politiko kayo, akala n’yo kaya n’yong gawin lahat, bilhin lahat, bayaran lahat, paikutin ang ulo ng lahat. Kung makaasta ka, akala mo kung sino ka pero katulad ng tatay mo at ng pamilya mo, basura ka!”
As she fought her torturous battle, Rica became an inspiration to women to also have faith in their own strength and let their voices be heard, giving them the assurance that someone is there to listen.
“Malaki ang kalaban at mahirap labanan mag-isa. Pero hindi ka nag-iisa, nandito kami. At kung kinakailangan na magsama-sama ang ilang babae para lang patumbahin ang isang lalaki, ‘yun ang gagawin natin. Dahil ‘pag nakita nila tayong magkakasamang tumatayo at sumisigaw, hindi na nila tayo basta-basta babalewalain. Hindi na nila tayo basta-basta mapapatahimik,” she talked to Jigs’ other victims who are scared to speak up, in a press conference wherein Ella (Aya Fernandez) came forward about Jigs’ abuse.
Challenges Facing the Judicial System
One of the issues faced by the justice system today is its slow-wheeled process that Rica almost gave up after months of fighting but not seeing results. On the day of arraignment, the Sicats arrived on time while the defendants and the judge came hours late – a scenario that Atty Laura (Ria Atayde) has gotten used to, “Dahil kulang na kulang tayo sa mga judges, kadalasan nagkakatambakan ng kaso… If they don’t show up, then we have to reschedule.” Kakay worried, “Tapos ano? Maghihintay na naman tayo?”
Mental Health Myths and Stigma
In this age where there’s higher risk of mental health struggles, it’s laudable how a progressive teleserye like Viral Scandal is able to tackle the myths and stigma surrounding it, which may discourage the patient from seeking professional help. One false belief debunked by the series is the idea that mental health problems are easy to overcome. In a scene where Rica finally signed up for treatment, the doctor told her healing from trauma could be a long and unpredictable process.
“Nasanay na tayo sa fast-paced na mundo, eh. Pero ‘yung healing, ibang-iba. It’s a very slow process and it can be frustrating. Parang mabagal na WIFI. Minsan, kahit i–restart mo nang i-restart ang modem, awayin mo ang service provider, kung mabagal talaga o sira ang signal, all you have to do is wait… Hindi ka gagaling hangga’t nangyayari pa ang trauma. Parang gunshot wound ang trauma, hindi gagaling hangga’t nakabaon pa ang bala.”
It was also portrayed that mental health issues can co-occur with other common disorders like alcohol addiction, which Raven (Kaila Estrada) suffered from. Axel (Jameson Blake) explained the symptoms to Rica and Kyle (Joshua Garcia) in a scene.
Through Brax (Sky Quizon), a closeted gay, Viral Scandal touched on the reality about LGBTQ community members being afraid to show their authentic selves. To this day, most of them still fear the consequences of coming out including getting bullied on campus or disowned by their families. “I am gay. My family won’t be able to accept me kapag nalaman nila. Kaya ingat na ingat ako dito sa school because once one person finds out, for sure kakalat na,” Brax confessed to Pogs (Aljon Mendoza) and Bea (Karina Bautista), later on his allies.
Social Media Misuse
To say that social media is powerful is an understatement. In the story, the characters highlight its impact on people’s lives and how it’s misused by distorting reality, especially in this age of cancel culture. On social media, Rica’s scandal became viral, her family was bashed, Ramones clan launched political propagandas and sustained their perfect image, and Jigs spread fake news.
“People need proof and what better way to post it online,” said Audrey (Maxene Magalona) in another scene, to which Kakay (Dimples Romana) replied, “Nakakalungkot naman pala. Kailangan pang i-post sa social media online para masabing totoo.” Audrey answered, “Nowadays, it’s all about perception. Everything is online. So, it’s inevitable. Social media is not that bad. It lets you tell your story and if marunong ka’t magaling ka magwento, ‘yun ang paniniwalaan ng mga tao. So, why not take advantage of that, right?”
The ‘Marites’ culture
While others take gossiping as normal social behaviour, Viral Scandal was able to portray its negative impact on people and in the community. Akin to social media, it can make or break a person especially since word of mouth has the tendency to be edited when passed.
Hearing whispers about her and Mayor Troy (Jake Cuenca), here’s what Kakay had to tell the gossipmonger: “Alam n’yo, ate, ako naman talaga ‘yung pinagtsitsismisan n’yo, ‘di ba? Alam ko naman ‘yun. Pero sana itama n’yo naman ‘yung mga detalye ninyo.” Likewise, Dan (Miko Raval) was quick to burn his ‘Marites’ neighbour.
Catch the Viral Scandal finale on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.