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Opinion: In Cases of Rape, Brazil Resembles India

08/23/2017 - 10h37



"We are India today. What are we going to do about it?" The question that ends Folha's editorial on Sunday (19) about the report that revealed that Brazil registers ten cases of gang rape a day still echoes.

It's not necessary to consider that the Ministry of Health numbers are partial, since not all the victims go to the hospitals or the police. Ten cases are enough to turn the stomach.

Brazil has other numbers that make it resemble the Indian savagery. There, the estimate is one case of rape every 21 minutes. Here, the account is one case every 11 minutes, according to the Brazilian Yearbook of Public Safety.

India is considered one of the worst countries in the world for a woman to live. In addition to male chauvinism and impunity, there are archaic social conventions, with caste systems and religions that prioritize men.

In December 2012, the country was the target of worldwide protests after a 23-year-old girl suffered a gang rape inside a bus in New Delhi and died. The repercussion of the case led to the reduction of 25% in the number of tourists in the following year.

The outcry also forced the authorities to bring about changes in legislation, which now provides for death penalty for brutal cases.

But hardening the law has not proven to be effective in intimidating rapists. Impunity (few are condemned) and the silence of the family (in most cases, the rapist is related or known to the victim) speak louder. In this aspect, Brazil is also approaching India.

We are witnessing a myopic State in dealing with sexual violence. Police are not prepared to receive the victims. What sense have questions like what clothes the woman wore, whether she was drunk or alone? In the courts, more disregard. Neither 10% of rapists are convicted.

Combating this violence involves a better-qualified State to welcome this woman and to hold criminals accountable unequivocally. It also involves proper sex education, rooted in respect for people, in the understanding of what consent is.

Many still turn up the nose to the term "rape culture." But it represents very well what goes on in this sick society, which accepts rape as part of daily life. When this crime occurs, it is always the woman's fault.

"She wanted to, she was drunk." About this, physician Drauzio Varella has a great phrase: "I have drunk before and I have passed the point, but I was never raped."

In the eyes of society, rapists are "crazy." And in that tune sexual violence continues in increasing pace.

In 2015, four girls were raped by five men in Piauí state. One of them died. In 2016, the video of a 16-year-old girl being raped in Rio by several men shocked Brazil.

Since Sunday, 30 Brazilian women have already suffered gang rapes in the country, according to ministry projections. What else does society expect to be indignant? A new video of barbarism? Another dead woman? What else?


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