The Copacabana is drapped in red. At the legendary tourist spot of Rio de Janeiro, feminists hung hundreds of clothes with red stains as a sign of the never-ending violence against women. The trigger for this action was a rape case which came to light on 26/05/2016 due to the high number of rapists. A 16-year-old Favela resident accuses 33 men that they drugged her, abducted her and abused her for several hours in a residential community in the district of Jacarepaguá in the Western part of the metropolis. The alleged perpetrators shot a video after the gang rape which went viral within hours after the rape became known. And it doesn’t just cause indignation on YouTube. The victim herself discovered the video online in which the alleged perpetrators call her a bitch. One of them even says that she is now pregnant by 30 men.
The six arrested men, named Raí de Souza, Lucas Perdomo Duarte Santos, Michel Brasil, Raphael Belo, Marcelo Corrêa and Sergio Luiz da Silva Junior, which should be involved in the rape, stated that the 16-year-old wanted to have sexual intercourse with all the men. The latter suspects, da Silva Junior, is better known as “Da Rússia” (English: “from Russia”). He is the head of the drug cartel in the favela Morro São José Operário, where the rape took place. Now the relevant video footage is even available on various Brazilian erotic websites.
Media doubts about the rape story
According to “Bom Dia Rio”, a program of the Brazilian TV channel “TV Globo”, there are some grave doubts about the gang rape of the 16-year-old girl. Because an undisclosed vaginal examine states that there were no signs of a violent sexual act. Other reports rely on this quite dubious, anonymous source. Contrary to these claims the Chairman of the Delegation for children and young victims (DCAV), Cristiana Bento, claimed that everything actually speaks for a gang rape. Finally, one can see clearly in the video that the men manipulate the young girls in their interests.
This opinion is also represented by the head of the Polícia Civil of Rio de Janeiro, Fernando Veloso. The mood, the unconscious girl on the bed and the malice of the filming man show in his opinion that the rape is definitely provable with this video. Because the man uses and abuses the teenagers visually. This act may be regarded as rape, inasmuch the video recordings are classified as real. This still must be checked by the investigators.
Public outcry like in the case of Jyoti
After the gang rape became known, a women’s movement congregated in Brazil, which would like to point specifically to the issue of rape and sexual abuse by using inter alia the hashtag #QueroUmDiaSemEstupro (“I want a day without rape”). Finally, each year about 50 million rape cases are registered in Brazil, which is estimated as only 10 percent of all rapes cases in the whole country. This isn’t surprising, because on the one hand victims often feel misunderstood and stigmatized by society. On the other hand, rape is the crime worldwide with the lowest solve rate.
Similar to the case Jyoti, an Indian medical student who died in late 2012 after a brutal gang rape, there weren’t only viral actions which have taken place since last week. In some cities, for example in Salvador and Goiânia, there were several demonstrations by women’s rights organizations against the patriarchal view regarding to violence and rape against women in Brazil. With slogans as “estupro não tem justificativa” (“Rape has no justification”) and “eu não mereço ser estuprada” (“I don’t deserve to be raped”), one would like to encourage a rethink in society and to force a change in the Brazilian law. Even renowned politicians still downplay rape crimes, for example the PSC deputy Jair Bolsonaro. In a speech to another member of the congress, he said that she isn’t even worth it a rape. Surveys show that around eight percent of the Brazilians would elect Bolsonaro as a president.
Just one of many rape cases
A few days after the gang rape in Rio de Janeiro, a previously unknown woman was raped, found stripped and murdered in Santa Catarina. But this is only one of many cases that has become public. Another one is the case of a 17-year-old girl in Piauí who was brutally abused by five men in the past week. The men injured the girl so badly that she died of internal injuries in the hospital. A year ago, the north eastern state already gained notoriety. Five men, including four minors, raped four teenage girls who they threw a rocky outcrop down after the crime. Especially in northern Brazil, where there is a high crime rate, most rapes occur.
There aren’t only many rapes on women and minors in Brazil. According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women one out of three women is at least a victim of rape once in her lifetime. That’s more than one billion victims worldwide. While Brazil is on the eighth place at the UN rankings, Sweden, Bolivia and Jamaica occupy the top places of the rape strongholds, where the number of registered cases increases since years.