By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Survey results from the Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Institute for Applied Economic Research – IPEA) on violence against woman and attitude towards rape released on March 27th have stirred outrage and controversy in Brazil.
Among its most polemic results, the IPEA survey found that 65 percent of respondents agreed with the statement: “Women who wear clothes that show their body, deserve to be attacked.”
Many outraged Brazilians immediately began to mobilize against the findings on social networks. After a call to action from the Facebook community, “Eu não mereço ser estuprada” (“I don’t deserve to be raped”) on Friday, March 28th at 8PM, women began sharing photos of themselves, both topless and clothed, holding signs that read “Eu também não mereço ser estuprada” (“I also do not deserve to be raped”). Several men also posted their disapproval of the survey results.
The situation escalated on Friday and over the weekend when group members were verbally attacked by both men and women in comments on the Facebook community’s page. Some comments threatened rape while some posts came from other women admonishing the participants.
Creator of the page Nana Queiroz told O Globo that she received sexist warnings. “The women said: ‘I hope you’re raped, you do not have [any sense]’ Many messages were from angry women.” Another group reportedly created a Facebook page to advocate a “gang rape” of the members of “Eu não mereço ser estuprada.”
The IPEA survey also found that 527,000 women, teens and children are raped each year in Brazil with seventy percent of that number being teens and children and only ten percent of incidents reported to the police.
Female high-ranking government officials also weighed in on the IPEA survey results. Eleonora Menicucci, Minister of the Secretary of Police for Women, responded to the findings through O Globo. “We can never forget that rape is a cultural, patriarchal, sexist and sexist act,” she said. Amidst the social network uproar, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s official Twitter account stated that “Brazilian society still has a way to go in combating violence against women.”
“It also shows that government and society should work together to tackle violence against women, inside and outside the home,” one tweet said, adding that there should be “zero tolerance for violence against women.” Each tweet ended with the hashtag (#) respect.
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