By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For the next ten days, passengers arriving or leaving Rio’s International Airport will be flying out or into Maria da Penha International. The airport has temporarily changed its name in honor of one of Brazil’s symbol of women’s rights starting on International Women’s Day (March 8th).
“Hello. I’m Maria da Penha. Through my history and my struggle, I give name to the main Brazilian law against domestic violence. And this month of March, I lent my name to RIOgaleão. This cause needs visibility and support from everyone,” she says in a statement, which will be heard today at Tom Jobim International Airport.
Maria da Penha is a bio-pharmacist from Ceara state who became paraplegic after being victim of domestic abuse. Penha fought for nearly twenty years for her assailant to be brought to justice and became a human rights activist pressuring the Brazilian Congress to pass a law against domestic violence.
The Maria da Penha Act works to make those responsible for threats, assaults, murders committed in the environment of domestic violence. The idea of RIOgaleão is to give visibility to the cause of victims of domestic violence and to provoke the discussion of important issues related to women’s rights.
“The large circulation of people through the airport is fundamental to achieving this goal,” said publicist Paulo Castro, of the Agência3, which created the action for the airport concessionaire RIOgaleão.
According to the Institute of Applied Economics (IPEA) a man murders every hour and a half a women in Brazil: thirteen femicide per day.
Data from the Rio de Janeiro State Court (TJRJ) system shows that 118 new cases of domestic violence are registered in the system every day and in the last six years almost 260,000 cases related to domestic violence against women have been heard in courtrooms throughout the state.
During the 2017 Carnival the military police in Rio de Janeiro registered violence against women every four minutes, according to government news sources.