The danger is real. Every 15 seconds, a woman in Brazil is assaulted by her husband or partner. And every day, 15 Brazilian women are killed according to figures cited by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
Panmela Castro, a celebrated artist in Brazil, uses her craft to address domestic violence. She started exploring with graffiti as a way of expression and power.
“I think people want us to be obedient and sometimes we need not be,” says Castro.
Castro is one of many brave female activist featured in A Woman’s Place, the documentary series produced by Refinery29 in partnership with We Are the XX.
“I started making graffiti as a desire to be a man,” says Castro. “But not to be man [in the literal sense], but to have the power that they have. I started a group with graffiti artists who were all men, at the time there were no graffiti women artists. I was super masculine. I had to speak like them and dress like them to be accepted.”
Since the start of the pandemic, many communities have seen an increase in the amount of domestic violence reports. With more people staying at home under stay-at-home orders, many have been unable to escape their abusers. This has led to an increased need for resources for domestic assault victims.
Well, one teenager has thought up a pretty ingenious way to get that help into the hands of those who need it in a very discreet way.
Teen launches fake beauty site to help victims of domestic violence.
A teenager who was aware of the increase in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic, has taken it into her own hands to help out victims. She’s launched a resource for domestic assault victims disguised as a fake beauty site. The Facebook page called “Rumianki i Bratki” (Chamomiles and Pansies) allows victims to stuck in their homes to seek help.
“I heard about a French initiative, where people go to the pharmacy and ask for a special mask that lets the pharmacist know they are a victim of domestic violence,” Paszko said in an interview with the BBC. “I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I came up with the idea of selling cosmetics.”
Translated from Polish, the description of the Facebook page reads: “Chamomiles and Pansies is a store with natural cosmetics. We will help you with the purchase of the appropriate specifics, as well as with all other problems.” There are a total of nine products listed on the page, and each has a description detailing how the product can help.
The Facebook page offers a variety of services depending on what the victim is comfortable with.
When someone messages Chamomiles and Pansies inquiring about a face cream, they’re assisted by a psychologist posing as a salesperson. Using Facebook Chat, the psychologist is able to collect essential information. The psychologist can then send authorities to visit the home if the domestic abuse victim chooses to place an order and leave an address.
When Paszko first launched the site, she thought it would only reach her friends and extended family, but the BBC reported that more than 350 people have contacted the website. Since the initiative took off, Paszko has enlisted the help of the Center For Women’s Rights, a Polish nonprofit. It currently has over 22,000 likes.
Cases of domestic violence have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic.
More than 10 million women and men experience violence from an intimate partner every year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence based in Colorado. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported a 9% increase in emergency calls from March through May last year when many states issued lockdown orders. Police departments have reported increases of domestic violence cases around the country including 18% in San Antonio, 22% in Portland and 10% in New York City, according to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
If you are experiencing domestic violence in the United States and need help you can go to TheHotline.org to chat with someone or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
When the allegations against Manson were first made public, Rubio called on law enforcement to take the claims seriously.
“As a survivor myself, I was horrified to hear of these domestic violence allegations. We need to stand with the victims,” she wrote. “We know they are almost always isolated from loved ones, making it that much more difficult to escape or seek justice.”
She continued: “These allegations of physical, emotional and financial abuse against Marilyn Manson, also known as Brian Hugh Warner, must be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. If law enforcement does not do that, we will not only fail these victims but future possible victims of the alleged perpetrator.”
As background, on Monday, Marilyn Manson was accused of “horrific abuse” by his ex-fiancée, actress Evan Rachel Wood in an Instagram post.
That same day, four other women came out publicly to tell their stories of abuse at the hands of Manson as well. The allegations include claims of rape, physical abuse, violent threats, and psychological torment among other things.
“[Marilyn Manson] started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission,” Wood wrote in her statement. “I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins any more lives.”
Manson and Wood were together from 2007 to 2010. They began a relationship while she was 18 and he was — and married to another woman.
In 2018 Evan Rachel Wood testified before she testified before California legislators, giving her own personal account of domestic abuse in support of the Phoenix Act–legislation authored and championed by Sen. Susan Rubio.
The Phoenix Act was legislation meant to grant more rights to victims domestic violence and alter the statute of limitations for perpetrators.
“My experience with domestic violence was this: Toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body,” Wood said. At the time, she didn’t name her alleged abuser.
California Senator Susan Rubio also has her own personal story of domestic violence.
Born in Juarez, Mexico, Rubio lived in Texas as an undocumented immigrant until she became an American citizen in 1994. She married fellow lawmaker Roger Hernández in 2013 before filing for divorce in 2016.
After her divorce, Rubio filed a permanent domestic violence restraining order against Hernández, alleging he had been physically abusive to her.
Since her election, she has been an outspoken advocate and champion for the rights of victims of gendered domestic violence. She authored the Phoenix act in 2018, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019.