As the world looks toward Brazil for the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the country is coping internally with a host of issues that make it one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman.
One woman is killed every two hours and assaulted every 15 seconds in Brazil. In Rio Grande do Norte, violence against women has increased 39% in the last 4 years. Rio de Janiero made headlines earlier this year after a video emerged on Twitter of more than 30 men gang-raping a 16 year old girl. This case gave rise to protests against rape culture and machismo in Brazil. Protests included a large art installation on Copacabana beach, where the beach volleyball competition will take place during the Olympics.
Currently there are only 3 exceptions to the ban on abortion in Brazil. Women’s groups will present a legal challenge this week that would allow women at risk for birth defects as a result of Zika to terminate the pregnancy. Before Zika, it is estimated that 1 million illegal abortions took place every year in Brazil.
Brazilian politics also demonstrate a culture of sexist political violence. Dilma Rousseff, the country’s past president, was impeached earlier this year on accusations of corruption. Both of Rousseff’s male predecessors and Michel Temer, Rousseff’s VP and current interim president, have all been accused of corruption – yet no moves to impeach them were made.
In Brazil, women are fighting against the sexist impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, The Guardian, 5 July 2016.
When it comes to raising a child disabled by Zika, Brazilian women often do it alone, Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2016.
How a brutal gang rape gave Brazil’s ‘silent women’ the power to fight back, The Telegraph, 6 July 2016.
End police violence at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Amnesty International.