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Violence Against Women Worsens in Brazil

According to CNN, four girls under age 13 are raped every hour in Brazil. Every two minutes, police will receive one report of violence against women. The study, from fall 2019, comes from the Brazilian Forum of Public Security. It found frightening results about the upswing in violence against women in the country.

Today, Brazil is in the cohort of the most dangerous countries to live in as a woman. The aforementioned report found that femicide, a murder committed on the sole basis that the victim is a woman, increased by 4% in the past year in Brazil, despite large decreases nationally in the rate of homicides.  

Furthermore, the report disclosed that 88% of femicide cases are enacted by a partner or former partner, which shows the growing issue of domestic abuse and violence. 

The country is also struggling with issues of rape, specifically against young women. The study finds that 54% of rape victims are under the age of 13 years old. 

These issues are exacerbated by the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been known for homophobic outbursts and corruption. Some scholars have even ventured to say that Bolsonaro’s language and actions are partially related to the rising issues. 

Recently, Brazilian women have been more likely to come forward to report their assault, and the reported incidents of violence have risen nearly 7% in recent years, according to anthropologist and researcher, Beatriz Accioly Lins.

Brazil has had very traditional views on gender and family, and the Minister of Women, the Family, and Human Rights had controversial quotes on the topic of gender inequality. 

“Boys wear blue and girls wear pink,” Minister Damares Alves said on video during her swearing-in ceremony in January of 2019. 

Leaders like Alves exacerbate issues of gender inequality and subsequent violence against women in the country. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has tried to become more involved, making statements about the issue and pushing Brazil to pass new laws. 

Brazil did pass a law in 2015 that legally defined the crime of femicide and gave more concrete repercussions. Despite this law, reports of violence against women still continue to climb. Additionally, according to the Human Rights Watch, Brazil only has 74 shelters for the victims of such violence, though the Brazilian population is nearly 200 million. 

Though all women are technically at risk, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that black women, women of LGBTQ+ identity, and women in power, such as activists or politicians, are much more likely to be a victim of these crimes. 

According to the Wilson Center, those at the highest risk of femicide are black women between the ages of 25 and 35 who have an elementary school education. 

The lack of resources and general narrative regarding these issues in Brazil continue to perpetuate the likelihood of violence and femicide.

Featured Image by chb1848 on Flickr

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