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Majority of Sexual Violence Cases in Brazil Uninvestigated

06/06/2016 - 10h35

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ANDRÉ MONTEIRO
ANGELA BOLDRINI
EDUARDO GERAQUE
EMILIO SANT'ANNA
FABRÍCIO LOBEL
ROGÉRIO PAGNAN
FROM SÃO PAULO

In Brazil, the majority of sexual violence cases go uninvestigated. A study by Ipea (Institute of Applied Economic Research) estimates that the country sees more than 500,000 cases per year.

The nearly 50,000 registered incident reports create a frightening picture - just like the gang rape of a 16 year old girl in a Rio slum and the two similar cases reported in the state of Piauí in one year. What follows after the reports are filed is also grim.

The police stations that handle Women's Defense issues only operate during "business hours", offer limited and neglectful assistance and do not have suitable structures in place to examine the victims. These problems add up, reinforce distrust in the law, and appear to feed a clueless system that neither investigates nor punishes aggressors.

"Why do women opt for silence? Shame, fear, guilt, distrust in the law, and fear of being outed and exposed, what we call revictimization", says prosecutor Valéria Diez Scarance Fernandes, Coordinator of the Gender Center at the Public Prosecutor's Office in São Paulo.

A series of complaints made to the São Paulo Civil Police Ombudsman reveal the problems encountered by victims. Among them, difficulties with incident reports, establishing credibility as a victim, and lengthy investigations.

The problems don't end there. In São Paulo, not one of the top ten districts reporting rape incidents in 2015 had a Women's Committee. That means that the majority of the victims were not seen in units with the structures necessary to handle those types of cases.

These structures are also lacking during examinations, especially in the interior areas of the state. According to a report by the Alckmin (PSDB) administration, there are cases where the women are subjected to makeshift instruments, such as lamps purchased from street vendors, for the collection of gynecological samples.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

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