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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A week after two gang rapes, one in Rio de Janeiro and another in Piaui, shocked the nation, Brazil’s Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would render stiffer sentences to those who participate in gang rapes in the country. The bill, if passed, could increase prison sentences for rapes by up to two thirds.

Brazil, Congress,Brazilian Congresswomen protest against rape before Senate passes bill making gang rape sentences stricter
Brazilian Congresswomen protest against rape before Senate passes bill making gang rape sentences stricter, photo by Wilson Dias/Agencia Brasil.

“The number of perpetrators matter, since in addition to the explicit cowardice and lack of compassion there is even more physical and moral suffering, fear and humiliation for the victim,” argued Senator Simone Tebet one of the authors of the bill.

Senator Tebet also included to the bill a prison sentence for those who offer, exchange, make available, transmit, distribute or publish, through photographs, videos or any other electronic means, a rape incident.

“Disclosure of rape and, from that moment, its virtual and eternal permanence on the Internet will not only create moral damages to the victim… but disturb family life, destabilize social relations, and leave scars in future romantic relationships…” added Senator Tebet.

Currently those who are convicted of rape are sentenced to 6 to 10 years in prison, with increased prison sentence if the victim is a child under the age of fifteen. If the new bill is passed, if the crime is committed by more than one person, the sentence would increase to over thirteen years if the victim is an adult and up to twenty-five years if the victim under the age of fifteen.

In the case of the gang rape in Rio de Janeiro, authorities have announced they have arrested two of the more than 30 men who raped a 16-year-old girl last week and are looking for the others. In the case of the rape in Piaui state, four minors and an adult have been arrested accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in early May.

According to the Yearbook of Public Security, 47,643 rape cases were reported across the country in 2014, which would mean a rape occurs every 11 minutes in Brazil.

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