Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Brazil's iconic Copacabana beach taken over in hard-hitting rape culture protest

Brazil 01.jpg

Photographs of Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach usually show bright blue surf  and a gorgeous arc of golden sand.

But on Monday, the iconic beach became the setting for a symbolic protest against violence towards women.

As part of a nationwide protest against Brazil’s culture of sexual violence, activists laid out over 400 pairs of lace knickers, in red and stained white, across the sand. Huge posters, showing women with their faces marred by bloody handprints, also appeared on the beach.

Rio

The images that appeared on Copacabana beach were part of a project titled “I Will Never Be Silent” by photographer Marcio Freitas

Over the last few weeks, Brazil has been electrified by protest and debate about the country’s endemic “macho” culture of misogyny and gender-based violence.

The spark occurred in late May, after a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped by up to 33 men in a Rio favela. The case only came to light because one of the alleged rapists uploaded a 30-second video to Twitter after the attack. In the clip, he and other men mock and manhandle the victim while she lies unconscious, naked and bloodied on a mattress.

The victim later told investigators that the last thing she remembered was visiting her long-term boyfriend’s house – before waking up in an unfamiliar building, surrounded by dozens of men with guns. Police suspect that she had been drugged, and the teenager’s grandmother told local media that the girl’s boyfriend had orchestrated the attack after becoming convinced she had cheated on him. 

Rio

Hundreds of women protest in downtown Rio after the gang-rape of a 16-year-old girl by over 30 men. The banner reads: "We want to grow in a world that does not label our colours, toys and much less our bodies"

The case prompted a huge response across Brazilian social media. At first, many men posted on Twitter that it was the teenager’s fault for wearing a short skirt, getting drunk or using drugs, The Guardian reports.

However, that was soon overwhelmed by widespread fury and condemnation, grouped around the hashtags #EstuproNuncaMais (no more rape) and #EstuproNaoTemJustificativa (rape can never be justified).

Over the last two weeks, demonstrators have been protesting at rallies across Brazil – as well as in Argentina, where a pregnant 14-year-old girl was murdered last year. The sudden outpouring of anger has been compared to the feminist protests in India in 2012, after 23-year-old Jyoti Singh was gang-raped on a Delhi bus and left to die.

Argentina

Activists have also been protesting a culture of sexism and sexual violence in Argentina

There were 50,000 rapes officially recorded in Brazil in 2014, but experts believe that the crime goes grossly underreported. In Rio alone, there were 4,725 rapes reported in 2014 – an average of 13 per day.

Amália Fischer of feminist organisation Fundo Social Elas said that gang rape was a hate crime, and that women across Brazil should be mobilised into action by May's events. “Women need to be respected regardless of their race, sexuality or the clothes they wear. I can only hope that this act can bring awareness to women and men about the need for this fight, so the violence against women can end,” she said.

Rio de Paz, the NGO behind the Copacabana beach protest, laid out 420 pairs of women’s underwear because that is the number of women raped every three days in Brazil.

“We can’t tolerate abuse against women,” Rio de Paz posted on Facebook, adding that they were fighting against “a culture of exploitation of human life”.

rio

A member of the NGO Rio de Paz stands in front of the installation on Copacabana beach

Images: Getty

Related

iStock_72634335_MEDIUM.jpg

Outcry over lenient sentence for student who raped unconscious woman

sexual assault.jpg

The beautiful photo-series taking a stand against rape culture

try beating me lightly.JPG

#TryBeatingMeLightly: Women respond to draft bill on domestic violence

rexfeatures_5345742p.jpg

Angelina Jolie set to teach a unique course about women in London

iStock_000091479671_Medium.jpg

Lucy Mangan on the legal precedent for psychological abuse

school 1.jpg

Stop telling schoolgirls that their uniforms are "distracting"

163816036.jpg

Why is society having trouble defining rape? Stylist investigates

1930433_31022120725_9674_n.jpg

Why I won't let fear stop me from travelling alone as a woman

domestic violence.jpg

The Twitter account reporting every death from domestic violence

Comments

More

How it feels to be a woman in America right now

"There is a sense of impending doom"

02 Dec 2016

Viewers slam Eamonn Holmes for ‘sexist’ treatment of GBBO's Candice

“He’s making me so uncomfortable – poor Candice”

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

The 12 surprising health benefits of mulled wine

Mulled wine, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways…

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Pensioner, 89, offered bar job after "stop me dying from boredom" ad

We love a story with a happy ending

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Bake Off fans, you can now apply to be on Channel 4’s GBBO

On your marks, get set, baaaaake…

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Inventor of new £5 note brands vegans “stupid” over animal fat debate

"It's stupid. It's absolutely stupid."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
02 Dec 2016

Baby it’s Cold Outside has been given a feminist makeover

The troubling Christmas song has been transformed into an epic consent anthem

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

You’d be more productive if you could work from a café, study finds

Tell your boss.

by Moya Crockett
02 Dec 2016

The best low-alcohol swaps for your favourite beers, wines and spirits

Time for a booze-not-booze?

by Amy Swales
01 Dec 2016

Dorchester issues “disgusting” list of beauty demands to female staff

Women have been told to shave their legs and wear full make-up

by Sarah Biddlecombe
01 Dec 2016