By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite a broader awareness of women’s rights, and laws implemented in the past year which make sexual harassment a crime, violence against women continues at an appalling rate in Brazil, according to women’s rights groups.

Brazil,Feminicide in Brazil continues high and is a source of concern for both government and NGOs
Feminicide in Brazil continues high and is a source of concern for both government and NGOs, photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil.

“Feminicides are surging in a country that in 2018 had one of the largest numbers of feminicides in the world, with 70 percent of these murdered women being black. Already in 2019 126 feminicides have occurred,” stated the Instituto Patricia Galvão, a non-governmental entity advocating for women’s rights in Brazil.

A study released this year by the Brazilian Forum of Public Security (FSB) shows that 536 women were victims of physical aggression every hour in the past year (4.7 million women) and 27.4 percent of Brazilian women aged sixteen years or older suffered some type of violence in the last twelve months.

The Atlas of Violence 2018, produced by FSB along with the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) pointed out a possible relationship between male chauvinism and racism, noting that the rate of killings that victimized black women grew by 15.4 percent during the decade between 2007-2016.

NGOs looking into women’s rights and violence against women in the country are wary of the new Bolsonaro administration and its views and policies for women.

“Today, Bolsonaro is putting into practice a war against the poor, women, LGBTQ + and black people,” states the Instituto Patricia Galvão.

The government, on the other hand, says it is adopting mechanisms to protect women.
At the end of February, during a session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, Brazil’s Minister for Women, Family and Human Rights, Damares Alves, said that among the priorities of her office is the implementation of policies for the protection and defense of women’s rights.

“We will spare no effort to address discrimination and violence against women, especially feminicide and sexual harassment,” she told UN representatives at the time.

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