Nineteen percent of Brazilian women, that is one in every five, have been victims of some type of violence. Nearly seven million have already suffered cuts, bruises, or fractures, and over six million have been the objects of sexual abuse.
According to a study done by the Perseu Abramo Foundation in 2001, one Brazilian women is beaten every 15 seconds.
The study covered 61.5 million Brazilian women 15 years old or more in every Brazilian state and shows that anti-female violence is still alarming.
Bad treatment is not limited to physical aggression. It includes sexual harassment, reported by 1% of those interviewed, and psychological pressures, such as cursing and threats, cited by 2%.
The study also revealed that the brutality practiced against women is indifferent to age and social class.
The alleged causes are jealousy and alcoholism, and the aggressors are, in the majority, husbands, partners, or former mates.
Silvia Pimentel, who teaches Philosophy of Law at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP), warns about the practice of abuse against girls.
This factor – domestic violence – has a big influence at the moment of filing accusations. These women hardly ever ask for help and only seek the police when the case is serious or involves threats against their children.
Assessing the context in which violence against women occurs in Brazil, Pimentel says that there is an unequal power relationship between the sexes.
Men have more power in various sectors of society: family, school, the workplace, and politics. This situation favors the practice of acts of violence.
“Men think it natural to beat, and women often think it natural to be beaten, because they are convinced that it is natural for men to beat and women to be beaten. This isn’t natural, it’s cultural,” she argues.
Translator: David Silberstein