Rio Gang Rape Uploaded To Twitter Sparks Protests

May 31, 2016

The horrifying crime has highlighted a growing issue of gender-related violence.

In the early hours of the morning last Wednesday, a video was uploaded to Twitter, accompanied with the caption; ‘They smashed the chick. Do you get it or do you not get it? lol’

The horrifying 30-second clip showed an unconscious, naked 16 year-old girl being raped by up to 30 men in a Rio de Janeiro favela.

During the video, laughter is heard by several of the men, with one calling out, “Check out the state she’s in. Bleeding,” while directing the camera toward her visibly bleeding genitals.

Another social media post showed a man posing with his face next to the unconscious girl’s genitals, captioned with the words ‘Rio state opens a new tunnel for the speed train.’

The tweets were hastily taken down, but not before they racked up hundreds of likes and mocking comments.

Rio de Janeiro’s Public Prosecutor’s Office received some 800 tips within hours of the horrifying tweets going live and promptly launched an investigation into the crimes.

In her statement to police, the 16 year-old victim reported meeting up with Lucas Perdomo Duarte Santos, a 19 year-old classmate she’d been dating for three years, at around 1am on Saturday. The next thing she recalls is waking up on Sunday, drugged, stripped naked, and surrounded by 33 armed men, in a strange house.

A slum area in Rio.
A slum area in Rio.

The attack took place in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, which are slum areas, usually built on the city’s slopes, during a time of heightened concern over a renewed wave of violence in the area, as acting President Michel Temer called an emergency meeting of the security ministers for each of Brazil’s states to deliberate over gender-related crimes.

“I want them to await the justice of God. I feel like trash,” the 16 year-old said in a statement to O Globo newspaper.

“It’s the stigma that hurts me the most. It is as if people are saying ‘it’s her fault. She was using scanty clothes.’ I want people to know that it is not the woman’s fault. You can’t blame a robbery victim, for being robbed.”

Reacting to the case, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of downtown Rio on Friday night armed with signs reading ‘Machismo Kills’ and ‘My body is not yours’.

Violence against women is a growing issue in Brazil, where an average of 15 women are killed every day simply as a result of their gender, according to figures cited by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. In the city of São Paulo alone, a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds.

The horrific crime comes as Brazil is suffering its worst economic crisis since the 1930s, with huge cuts made to public services – including a whopping $550 million from Rio’s security budget – in order to fund the Summer Olympics in August.

Comment: What steps do you think the Brazilian government needs to take to address the shocking crimes against women occurring in its country?



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