By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A new bill approved by the Brazilian Senate this week, which will expand the sanctions in case of sexual abuse committed in public places and public transport as well as the dissemination of sex and scenes on the Internet, has been applauded by experts working with the protection of women’s rights.

Brazil,Brazil's Senate approves bill which would make increase punishment for violence against women
Brazil’s Senate approves bill which would make increase punishment for violence against women, photo by Waldemir Barreto/Agencia Senado.

“It’s something that strengthens our actions. [The project] expanded the identification of crimes that were previously uncomfortable to mention, because they were not included in the Penal Code. We now have a way of redefining criteria for denouncing, monitoring and action, through public policies, ” Regina Célia Barbosa, founder and vice president of Instituto Maria da Penha (IMP) was quoted by government news agency, Agencia Brasil.

One of the items included in this new bill is the criminalization of the so-called ‘revenge porn’, when intimate images are released on the Internet by former companions in order to humiliate the person after the end of the relationship.

“Working with cases of domestic violence, I come across a lot of cases where there is a break in the relationship, and the guy in power of images, videos of intimate content of the former companion ends up publicizing as a form of revenge, to humiliate the woman,” stated the Coordinator of the Special Action Task Force on Domestic Violence (Gevid) of the São Paulo State Public Prosecutor’s Office, Sílvia Chakian.

Experts now hope that harsher punishment and the adoption of a society awareness policy will contribute to avoiding the worsening of violence against women and cases of feminicide.

“If society still does not interfere today, it is a sign that this society believes that the issue of violence against women is normal or a family issue , is not a matter of our State and our responsibility, of society,” concluded Chakian.

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