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Brazil: Sexual and physical violence against women on the rise

CNN logo CNN 5 days ago By Helena Cavendish de Moura and Julia Hollingsworth, CNN
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Women wear pink masks protesting violence against women in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 28, 2017. © Leo Correa/AFP/Getty Images Women wear pink masks protesting violence against women in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 28, 2017.

In Brazil, four girls under 13 are raped every hour and every two minutes police receive a report of violence against women.

Those are just two of the findings from a new study released Tuesday by non-governmental organization Brazilian Forum of Public Security, which found that violence against women and girls is worsening in the country.

Brazil -- which is home to over 200 million people -- is already among the most dangerous places on earth to be female.

The report found that femicides -- when a woman is murdered for being a woman -- increased by 4% last year on the previous year, even as the national homicide rate fell 10.8%. In 88% of those cases, the perpetrator was the woman's partner or former partner.

Over 263,000 women suffered serious injuries at the hands of their partner, according to the study, which was based on governmental data.

The country also saw the largest ever number of reported rapes, and almost 54% of the victims were girls under 13 years old.

A dangerous place for women

Violence against women is a problem that Brazil has been facing for some time.

"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 show on Tuesday. "And the most dangerous place for a woman is her own home."

A 2015 study found that Brazil had the fifth highest rate of female homicides in the world. 

According to non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), domestic violence remains widespread. But not enough is being done, according to HRW. Each year, thousands of cases are not properly investigated, and in 2017, 23 shelters for victims of domestic violence were closed in Brazil due to budget cuts.

Federal Judge Ben-Hur Viza said that domestic violence persists because it remains culturally acceptable. "It's something that happens behind the walls, inside the house," he said in a documentary about femicide that was released last year.

Some fear the situation may only get worse under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been in office since the start of this year, and who has made openly misogynistic comments.

Bolsonaro once told a congresswoman that she did not deserve to be raped because she was "very ugly," Brazil's TV Globo reported.

a person wearing a costume: Images of models portraying women who have been abused at a demonstration opposing violence against women on Copacabana beach in 2016. © Mario Tama/Getty Images Images of models portraying women who have been abused at a demonstration opposing violence against women on Copacabana beach in 2016.
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