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

Woman Alleges She And Two Other Women In ICE Custody Were Raped Hours Before Being Released And Deported

Things That Matter

Woman Alleges She And Two Other Women In ICE Custody Were Raped Hours Before Being Released And Deported

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The United States continues to detain migrants and refugees in detention centers across the country, despite a global health crisis that poses an immense risk to detainees. However, along with the threat of Covid-19 infection – longstanding abuses such as sexual assaults continue to happen inside detention centers.

One brave woman has come forward with her story about a sexual assault that happened at a detention facility outside Houston, Texas.

A federal lawsuit alleges that three women were sexually assaulted hours before being deported back to Mexico.

In a federal lawsuit that was filed on Wednesday, a Mexican woman, who was being held inside an immigration detention facility, said she was raped along with two other women. The woman, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, is suing CoreCivic – a major private prison company that operates several ICE detention facilities across the U.S.

While in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, the plaintiff said she and two other women were taken from their dorms and placed inside a dark small room. Around midnight, three men in street wear entered the cell and sexually assaulted all of the women. The attackers hit the women in the face, used brutal force and raped each of them.

Hours later, all three of the victims were put on buses and deported back to Mexico – without even being given the chance to shower after the attack.

“She was in a very vulnerable position,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Michelle Simpson Tuegel. “I don’t think by chance that these women were targeted on the eve of deportation, and that she was sexually assaulted right as she was being deported.”

“It wasn’t really a position where she had anyone or could do anything at that point,” Tuegel said. 

The woman said she became pregnant as a result of the rape.

The alleged attack occurred June 1, 2018. The plaintiff released a video statement detailing some of the alleged incident. In it, she reveals that shortly after returning to Mexico, she discovered that she was pregnant.

“I became pregnant as a result of the rape and am now the mother of a girl,” she said in the video. 

Attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel said that while the plaintiff loves her daughter regardless of how she came into the world, the mother suffered a difficult birth. 

“She conceived a child as a result of this rape and then had a pretty difficult…birth in a rural area of Mexico. She would not have had that, had it not been for this rape,” Simpson Tuegel said. 

Although ICE hasn’t commented on the lawsuit, they have defended the actions of their employees.

Credit: US DHS

ICE said in a statement that it does not comment on pending litigation, but said lack of comment should not be taken as agreement with any of the allegations.

“ICE employees and contractors are held to the highest standard of professional and ethical conduct,” the agency said. “Incidents of misconduct are treated with the utmost seriousness and investigated thoroughly. When substantiated, appropriate action is taken.”

Unfortunately, sexual assault and rape are extremely common in ICE detention centers.

Credit: Sally Whitfield / Getty

According to reporting done by The Intercept, between 2010 and 2017, there were 1,224 complaints involving sexual assault. Perhaps even more startling, is that of these more than 1,200 sexual assault allegations – only 43 were ever investigated.

It’s also important to note the extreme obstacles encountered by those wanting to report assaults – from fear and retaliation to outright lack of resources. These patterns suggest that sexual assault and harassment is ICE detention centers are not only widespread but systemic, enabled by an agency that regularly fails to hold itself accountable.

Another Man Grabbed A Woman Reporter While She Was Trying To Do Her Job Live On-Air

Entertainment

Another Man Grabbed A Woman Reporter While She Was Trying To Do Her Job Live On-Air

WGN2 / Twitter

Illinois television reporter Gaynor Hall was doing her job when a man ran up and assaulted her while she was live on air. Hall, 37, had been providing viewers with a weather update in Shorewood, Illinois, on Saturday evening when a man jumped into the live shot, grabbed hold of her, and blurted out an obscenity. The man has since been arrested for assault.

The incident took place while Hall was reporting on wind damage that had occurred 45 miles south of Chicago.

According to Shorewood police, 20-year-old Eric Farina was the man in the video who “grabbed the reporter around her shoulders and uttered a profane and disturbing statement.” Upon his arrest, Farina was charged with disorderly conduct and battery. “Shorewood Detectives located Farina on Sunday morning at his residence,” the police said in a statement. “Farina made a full confession and was placed under arrest, bonded, and released.”

Farina was ultimately released on a $2,500 bond. His arrest came at the hands of help from the community.

Hall reached out to her friends and followers on Facebook and asked for help with identifying her assailant on.

***UPDATE*** Thanks to your help, he was identified and arrested. Thank you all so much for your kind words and…

Posted by Gaynor Hall on Saturday, May 23, 2020

“Thanks to your help, he was identified and arrested. Thank you all so much for your kind words and support. I am ok and I appreciate you more than you know,” Hall wrote in a post to her Facebook page.

Before his arrest, Hall published a post with Farina’s face during the attack writing “A brief note to the young man who jumped in my live shot tonight: It was not funny. You violated my personal space. You grabbed me. You scared me. Was it worth it?”

Unfortunately, incidents like these happen often to women reporters.

In December of last year, a video was posted to Twitter of WSAV reporter Alex Bozarjian being assaulted on live television. The video showed Bozarjian smiling in front of a crowd of joggers who were running the annual Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run in Georgia. Runners streamed behind her, occasionally interrupting her reporting and making goofy faces to the camera. Things took a dark turn when a male jogger came up behind Bozarjian and slapped her on the butt before he continued on his run.

Bozarjian was visibly rattled by the incident, her face appeared shocked as she struggled to regain her composure, and stumbled over her words before continuing to do her job. A concerned viewer, Twitter-user @GrrrlZilla, recorded the incident and posted a video of it to her Twitter account. “We watch @WSAV in our house every single morning,” she said in a follow-up Tweet. “Their staff is like extended family to us. I’m furious about this.” Soon after the incident, the jogger was identified by internet sleuths as Georgia man Tommy Callaway and it turned out he spends his time as a youth minister.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 63% of sexual assaults go unreported and according to The Office of Civil Rights & Sexual Misconduct women decide not to make the reports for various reasons but one of the number one reasons including not being believed or fearing that the justice system will not consider the crime “serious enough”

Check out a video of the incident here.