For Brazil’s Women, Laws Are Not Enough To Deter Rampant Violence

Lulu Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 07/24/2016

On the day she was killed, Alexsandra Moreira thought she was safe. She thought she had managed to break away and protect herself.

Her brother even escorted her to the bus station that morning to make sure she was OK on her way to work.

“When she got on the bus, my brother told her, ‘If anything happens, just call me.’ Ten minutes later, his phone rang and it was her. All he could hear was her screaming, pleading for help,” Moreira’s sister, Andreza da Silva, says.

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Brazil passes femicide law to curb domestic violence

Donna Bowater and Priscilla Moraes – Al Jazeera America, 5/10/2015

RIO DE JANEIRO — “My best hope is that he dies,” the tall, slight and articulate 45-year-old speech therapist said calmly of her husband. “I know that he can kill me.”

The woman, who asked not to be identified, had gone to the courts in Rio de Janeiro to seek protection from her husband of 22 years.

After her husband suffered a psychiatric breakdown in 2001, she said, he became violent and threatened to kill her, their daughter and himself. “I learned that between him and me, it’s me first,” she said.

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Do Brazilian Women Really Reign Supreme?

Anna Petherick – Foreign Policy, 10/2/2014

There is a pejorative phrase in Brazil that is occasionally applied to female would-be politicians: They are called “orange candidates.” The phrase’s etymology is juicy, if muddled: By one account, an “orange” was prison slang for a target of fraud, a sucker or a mark. By another, bootleggers injected the fruits with liquor to evade the authorities during prohibition. What both versions have in common is the implication of fraud or alibi — reflecting the assumption that a woman on a list of candidates may have no real influence if her inclusion is merely to inch the party closer to its legally enshrined gender quota.

Yet Dilma Rousseff, the incumbent in this year’s Brazilian presidential election, and Marina Silva, her main competitor, could not be less orange. Though Rousseff was plucked by her illustrious predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to inherit the benefits of his colossal popularity, both she and Marina Silva are the primary authors of their own success. Both were ministers in the Lula government. Both became politically engaged — riskily so — in their youth. While Rousseff made her name as a militant activist in the fight against dictatorship, Silva founded a trade union movement with fellow rubber-tapper and environmentalist Chico Mendes, who was ultimately murdered for these activities. Rousseff’s lymphoma of five years ago, and Silva reoccurring bouts of the infectious diseases she acquired growing up dirt-poor on a plantation, attest to their bravery and determination.

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Healing the scars of Brazil’s domestic violence victims

Marina Estarque – Deutsche Welle, 4/21/2014

The beatings and the cuts are burnt into Jaqueline Santos Oliveira’s skin. Her scars remind her of the violence she experienced at the hands of her partner. But that’s not the end of the trauma: the stigma associated with her scars continue to haunt her in public. People look at her strangely, she says.

According to figures from the authorities, every second Brazilian woman has been subject to domestic violence in their lifetime. In 70 percent of the cases the violence comes from the husbands or partners of the victims.

In Sao Paulo, the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery (SBCP) has now teamed up with the non-governmental organization “The Bridge” to offer victims of domestic violence an opportunity to receive free plastic surgery. Jaqueline Santos Oliveira and Roseneide Fernandes da Silva were two of the first women to receive treatment under the plan.

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