Brazil: Hundreds of Thousands Take to the Streets after Teenage Rape Victim Receives Death Threats

A sixteen-year old girl said she received death threats and was treated poorly by local police after she reported being drugged and raped by at least thirty men in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She said police accused her of participating in illegal drug trafficking and regular "group sex." However, graphic videos of the rape posted online by the girls’ attackers prompted an outpouring of support for the victim, including large public protests in Rio and Sau Paulo. In response to the outcry, Rio police have replaced the lead investigator in the case and several men have since been arrested in connection with the crime. Brazil’s president “urged the country’s lawmakers to increase jail time for rapists . . . [and] announced the creation of [a] new Federal Police unit to combat violence against women.”

Eight rapes a day are reported to Brazil’s national hotline and, on average, a woman is killed every two hours in the country. A woman who helped organize the recent anti-rape protests in Rio stated, “It's not acceptable to be quiet about this . . . . Rape is rape. It's a brutal crime . . . there's a need to fight against machismo. All of us know we are victims of different abuses but we don't talk about it because it's become normalized."

Compiled from: De Castro, Rafa Fernandez, Shocking gang rape video is forcing Brazil to confront its rape culture, The Huffington Post (June 3, 2016); Bowater, Donna, Massive Protest in Brazil After Girl Was Blamed for Being Gang-Raped in Rio, Vice News (May 31,2016).