In September 2011 a gang rape occurred on the island of Sulu in an environment of escalating violence against women where lesbians raped a teenage girl. Sulu is found in the southern islands of the Philippines and is part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao where ongoing violence and conflict is common. A series of gang rapes occurred on the island from 2008-2009 however they decreased over the years as a result of an anti-rape campaign. Over this time no suspected rapists were ever penalized, yet stricter regulations governing how women were supposed to dress and behave were imposed. While the three accessories to the crime are now in jail, the main perpetrator is said to be in hiding. There is a threat from the family of the rapist against those who will speak up.
Tumba Lata Jolo focuses on raising awareness for Moro lesbians and for the promotion of women’s and lesbian rights. This organization proposes to begin a documentation and awareness campaign to work with the lesbian community to speak up against rape and sexual assault and to hold a learning exchange with Tumba Lata in Davao. The situation of interpersonal violence within the lesbian community in Jolo, Sulu is an important dialogue that will contribute to the work of Tumba Lata in the region.