The movement #NiUnaMenos started in Argentina, but its message and impact has crossed the borders of the country and is now the voice of all Latin America protesting violence against women.
On November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women established by the United Nations, women marched in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and other cities against the epidemic indexes of violence against women in Brazil.
In a video of the protests in Rio shared on Facebook by Hermanas, a page dedicated to bridge Brazilian feminism to that of the rest of Latin America, women were singing, “violence against women is not the world that we want.”
Data shows just how serious the reality of femicides and violence against women is in Brazil:
- According to the UN, Brazil has the 5th highest index of femicides in the world.
- According to PRI, “the number of women killed in homicides in Brazil keeps on increasing” (see Graphic 1 below).
- Also according to PRI, this number is higher among black women (see Graphic 2 below), which highlights racial discrimination issues that also plague Brazil.
- According to the Mapa da Violência 2015 (“Map of Violence 2015”), the main source of data and information on the topic in the country, there are 13 femicides every day in Brazil.
Earlier in 2016, Brazil experienced a similarly shocking case of violence against women such as the one that shocked Argentina in October. A teenager from Rio de Janeiro was gang raped, and videos and photos of her undressed and unconscious were posted and shared around the Internet. As soon as the case became public, social media was flooded with messages, videos, art work, poems and more of people supporting the victim and protesting yet another case of violence against women in the country.
A shocking survey came out recently where 1 out 3 of the Brazilians interviewed said that in some cases, rape could be the victim’s fault. Even more shocking is that 32% of women interviewed agreed with this statement. 30% of the interviewed agreed with the statement that “a woman who wears provocative clothes cannot complain if she’s raped.” The explanation for this attitude that many Brazilians – men and women – have is definitely complex, but the long lasting culture of machismo is usually mentioned when trying to explain the violence and discrimination suffered by women in Brazil.
The most common statement made on social media in the aftermath of the gang rape case was “I fight against rape culture.” Indeed, Brazilian culture remains largely complacent and indifferent about this serious issue that plagues the country. As someone who lived in Brazil for 16 years I unfortunately know well about this culture and how subtle, yet dangerous rape culture can be, from song lyrics that mention rape and violent sex, to a degrading comment guys will tell girls but then say “I don’t really mean that, it’s just a joke.”
Despite the dire reality and increased violence against women in Brazil, I, as a Brazilian woman, feel encouraged. So many women, activists and not, are not losing hope or quitting the fight to end violence against women in Brazil – and beyond – anytime soon.
You can learn more about Latin American women’s fight against gender-based violence by reading this post from fellow Girl’s Globe Blogger Bita Aranda.