Things That Matter

The Violence Against Women In Brazil Is Escalating And A New Study Shows That Girls Under 13 Are Being Targeted

A troubling study is highlighting the horrible state of women’s safety in Brazil. This time, a non-governmental organization found that girls under the age of 13 are facing a horrific trend of rapes within the South American country. Here is what the study by the Brazilian Forum of Public Security found.

A new study shows that four girls under 13 are raped every hour in Brazil.

Credit: Saulo Cruz / Flickr

The study also found that police receive a call every two minutes to report a violent attack against a woman. The study shows a very troubling side of one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women.

“Brazil is still one of the most dangerous places in the world for women,” Valeria Scarance, a public prosecutor, told Brazilian newspaper Globo’s Jornal Nacional. “And the most dangerous place for a woman is her own home.”

To make matters worse, the Brazilian government has been stripping away crucial places of safety for women. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in 2017, the Brazilian government closed 23 shelters for victims fo domestic violence citing budget cuts as the reason. The following year, Jair Bolsonaro was elected as president and it sparked fear and outrage throughout the country. At the start of 2018, the HRC also found that 1.2 million domestic violence cases were pending before courts throughout the country.

The violence against women in Brazil has been at the forefront of Brazilian protests for years, even before the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

Credit: @StylistMagazine / Twitter

In the lead up to one of the largest sporting event in the world, Brazilians protested to warn potential tourists of the crimes being committed. The famous Copacabana Beach was filled with panties and images of women who have been sexually assaulted in Brazil.

Brazilians highlighted the death of a 17-year-old girl at the hands of a group of men to warn tourists of the dangers of being in the country.

The election of Jair Bolsonaro reignited the efforts of protesters across the country to bring attention to the violence women face every day in Brazil.

Bolsonaro, like President Trump, energized the far-right of Brazil. Minority groups, women, and the indigenous defenders tried to warn the nation against electing Bolsonaro are the president of Brazil to no avail. Since taking office, Bolsonaro has attacked women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, environmental rights, and anything you can really think of.

In one display of troubling rhetoric, Bolsonaro told a congresswoman that she was not worthy of being raped. He made the statement on Brazil’s TV Globo and stated he wasn’t worth rape because she was too ugly, sparking outrage.

As the world deals with injustices at the hands of apathetic governments, Brazilians are trying to fight to save women.

Credit: @Prynces11 / Twitter

The violence against women is startling in Brazil. Only time will tell if Brazilians will be able to put enough pressure on the nation’s leaders to exact the change they want to see for women’s rights.

READ: Indigenous Women Of Brazil Are Refusing To Keep Quiet Over The Country’s President’s Policies

A Former Brazilian President Was Just Released From Prison And Here’s What That Could Mean For The Country

Things That Matter

A Former Brazilian President Was Just Released From Prison And Here’s What That Could Mean For The Country

Henry Milleo / AP Images

A judge ordered the release of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, affectionately known as Lula, from prison today. Lula was sentenced to eight years and 10 months in prison in 2018, following a conviction on charges that he took bribes from engineering firms in exchange for government contracts. However, many Brazilians and officials felt Lula’s conviction was the result of corruption. 

The decision came after Brazil’s Supreme Court overturned a law that required convicts to be imprisoned if they lose their first appeal. The ruling could end up benefiting other high profile prisoners and thousands of other convicts, according to Al Jazeera, and was not met without detractors. 

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is freed from prison.

On Thursday, Brazil’s Supreme Court decided in a 6-5 vote that a person can only be imprisoned after they’ve exhausted every possible appeal to the higher courts. Lula, who is currently appealing his case, benefited from the new rule. 

“There are no grounds for the continuation of this provisional criminal enforcement,” Judge Danilo Pereira Júnior said.

The ruling could release almost 5,000 inmates who are currently appealing their convictions, according to The Guardian. 

In 2016, the courts operated on the premise that defendants who have been convicted can be imprisoned pending the decisions of any appeals. However, Brazil’s constitution states that no one can be labeled guilty unless due process is completed in its entirety. 

Justice Gilmar Mendes acknowledged that Lula’s involvement in the discourse overshadowed the discussion, but that overall it is good for the public, according to the Guardian. However, analysts say that incarcerating people before they have appealed gives authorities leverage to strike plea deals that can garner vital information. 

Many analysts are criticizing the new rule. 

The “Car Wash” operation, as it is nicknamed, that got Lula arrested, benefited from the rule. By trading plea deals that would keep convicts out of prison, prosecutors obtained information that allowed them to unravel a massive conspiracy of corruption that resulted in entrepreneurs and politicians being imprisoned for bribes and kickbacks. 

According to Al Jazeera, “The Car Wash prosecutors said the ruling would make their job harder and favor impunity because of Brazil’s ‘excessive’ appeal processes. They said in a statement that the court’s decision was out of sync with a country that wants an end to corruption.”

Not only are officials displeased with Lula’s release, but some Brazilians are also angry as well. 

“I’m not surprised, politicians rarely stay very long in jail,” Rivaldo Santos, a 43-year-old waiter in São Paulo, told The Associated Press. 

Brazilians rally in support of Lula’s release. 

Lula was a once-beloved conduit of change. The Bolsa Familia welfare program significantly reduced poverty in Brazil, and his policies created widespread economic growth. Lula left the office with an 80% approval rating, only to have his legacy tarnished by his involvement in the Car Wash operation. 

In a turning point over the summer, Brazilians were left stunned by allegations that prosecutors and a judge colluded together in the criminal investigation of Lula. Sergio Moro, the judge who convicted Lula, allegedly gave prosecutors strategic advice and tips during the investigation. 

“The judge’s relationship with prosecutors is scandalous,” the Intercept Brasil’s executive editor, Leandro Demori, told The Guardian. “This is illegal under Brazilian law.”

The revelations caused many to wonder if Lula had been wrongfully imprisoned altogether. Last year, Lula was the left-leaning presidential frontrunner only to have his imprisonment pave the way for the far-right Jair Bolsonaro to snag the presidency. Thus, many Brazilians still revere Lula for the sweeping changes he brought to Brazil while wondering all that could have been.

“He is very happy and so are we,” Gilberto Carvalho, Lula’s former chief of staff and one of the leaders of the Workers Party, told The Washington Post. “We are pinching ourselves to make sure this is all true.”

Bernie Sanders and others praise the release of Lula.

“As President, Lula has done more than anyone to lower poverty in Brazil and to stand up for workers. I am delighted that he has been released from jail, something that never should have happened in the first place,” Sanders tweeted.  

“Lula is free. He walked out of Sergio Moro’s prison today, where he spent almost 2 years as a result of corrupted process conducted by a corrupt judge (now Bolsonaro’s Minister of Justice and Public Security) and corrupt prosecutors,” journalist Glenn Greenwald said on Twitter. 

While Brazil was set on an entirely different course after Bolsonaro’s election, perhaps, Lula’s release can usher in needed change.

“[Lula] is eager to come out, but at the same time he is asking everyone to stay calm and be careful with provocations to keep an atmosphere of peace,” Carvalho said. 

A Mother Discovered Videos Of Her Missing 15-Year-Old Daughter On The Adult Site PornHub

Fierce

A Mother Discovered Videos Of Her Missing 15-Year-Old Daughter On The Adult Site PornHub

FTND / Twitter

A Florida man was arrested following a mother’s discovery of videos that show him and her 15-year-old daughter, who had been missing for a year, engaging in sexual acts, police say. 

According to NBC, 30-year-old Christopher Johnson was taken into police custody and charged with lewd and lascivious battery of a child under 16. Authorities also found the girl with him in the car where Johnson was apprehended. The girl was reported missing in December 2018 after leaving her home in Sunrise, Florida at around 3 AM. 

Police were unable to track down the girl until her mother contacted authorities with a tip after discovering sexually explicit images and videoes of the missing teen on Porhub, SnapChat and Periscope. 

The teen was spotted two months after she was missing, but the lead went nowhere.

The girl was seen at a convenience store with two men according to a tip police received in February. Surveillance video showed the teenager covering her face and after realizing the store clerk recognized her. The clerk told police that she and the two men left in a black Dodge Challenger. However, without the license plate they couldn’t find the vehicle. 

Only now did authorities discover that one of the two men at the store with her was Johnson. 

The girl’s mother sends in a second tip to the police.  

A Davie Police affidavit indicated the mother contacted authorities on September 3 regarding the discovery of images of her daughter. In the videos, the teen performs sexual acts with two adult males. Around 58 videos of the 15-year-old girl were shared online. 

During the investigation, police determined that Johnson was one of the males involved in the videos. 

Police track down Christopher Johnson.

After getting a license plate for the black Dodge Challenger when it was spotted at a different store in the area, police were able to trace it back to Johnson. Authorities began to keep Johnson’s apartment under close surveillance before making the arrest. 

“Surveillance was conducted on this address by several detectives,” the police department said. 

Police then apprehended Johnson when she and the girl were getting into the car. Johnson denied having sex with the girl. However, according to FOX 32,  Detective Adam Granit wrote in his police report, “the victim stated that she got pregnant from the defendant and he took her to the clinic to have an abortion.”

According to NBC, during a search of Johnson’s apartment detectives uncovered paperwork from an abortion clinic. The girl, whose identity is anonymous because she is a minor, told authorities that all of the sexual videos were filmed on her cellphone in Johnson’s apartment. She also told police that Johnson got her pregnant and took her to an abortion clinic to terminate the pregnancy. 

Johnson is being held on a $75,000 in Broward Main Jail in Fort Lauderdale. 

Many of the women in crowdsourced pornography websites are sex trafficked. 

According to Fight The New Drug, the United States is a major source of sex trafficking in the world. Anyone who watches pornography on a website with user-generated content has probably seen a victim of sex trafficking. 

“Sometimes, pornographic images and videos are fringe “products” from victims being sold for sex. Sometimes, recruiters specifically use force, fraud, or coercion to ensnare vulnerable or unsuspecting people into performing sex acts on camera.” 

According to Rescue:Freedom, in the nine countries surveyed, 49 percent of sexually exploited women say pornographic videos of them were made while they were being sold for sex.

Just this month the owners of the website GirlsDoPorn were charged with sex trafficking by the FBI after discovering the men tricked women into appearing in pornographic videos. The website made $17 million off of the scheme. Many of the victims’ videos were also discovered on PornHub. 

The owners used a bait and switch method of promising college students they would do modeling only form them to discover the modeling gig was pornography. 

“They agreed to participate anyway, federal authorities claim in court documents, because of a promise that the videos were being created exclusively for private collectors or DVDs sold abroad and would never be posted online,” according to the Washington Post.

“The women say they were horrified to find out their shoots were online; many were harassed or ostracized as a result. At least one was disowned by her family, according to the FBI.”

However, the FBI discovered that it was a lie. Moreover, the women were often coerced threatened with legal action if they didn’t perform sexual acts, were prevented from leaving the shoots, and sometimes forcibly sexual assaulted.  Thus, one mother’s discovery highlights a damning truth about pornographic websites.