A Brazilian teen appeared on television to recount the horrific experience of being gang raped by 33 men while visiting a shantytown in Rio de Janeiro. Despite her public plea, very few men have been arrested for their involvement. Now organizations and government are stepping in saying that things must change.
The 16-year-old recounted that she was woken to find, "One man under me, another on top of me, and two more holding my hands." She also said, "I was drugged and confused." The men have been described as criminal drug dealers, and some have even taken to social media to post pictures, and descriptions of the night that changed the young woman's life forever.
So far, only two suspects have been arrested and charged with committing rape.
"There were many people armed and many boys laughing and talking," she said, "There were adults and not only boys. Now they judge me and blame me." She continued, "They robbed me. They robbed me, but not of any material property but of physical property."
The Globe and Mail reported that the young woman's 19-year-old boyfriend and a 41-year-old man are now facing charges of rape, while two other men are facing charges for distributing images of the horrific attack online. One man also turned himself in, and a local professional soccer player has been arrested for alleged involvement as well.
A Sao Paulo-based feminist advocacy organization, Think Olga, issued a statement regarding the attack. "Women worldwide take their own lives when they find themselves in such circumstances, because they fear the same impunity that allows their perpetrators to defame them on social media," it read. "This absurd violation of their privacy is comparable in severity to the crime itself, because it multiplies thousands of times with every view, every click."
The girl, and her family are now under state protection. They reportedly intend to leave Rio.
Brazil's justice minister, Alexandre Moraes, who was in Rio for a meeting about Olympic security for the upcoming summer games, said he would put the her and her family in the federal government's witness protection program, should they desire.
Brazil has faced a seemingly endless stream of controversy leading up to the 2016 Olympic games, with some athletes even threatening to boycott over health concerns due to the Zika virus outbreak. Not a good look with the Games just around the corner.
(Photo: AP Photo/Leo Correa)