Threats to women's rights

Image: Fidan Nazim qizi


We reached 2023 with an air of times that we thought were outdated, almost medieval

In 2000, the Brazilian government presented to the United Nations General Assembly the National Report on the implementation of the Platform of Action of the IV World Conference on Women, containing the advances and difficulties in the process of application of the “Beijing Declaration”.

The document mentioned each of the areas of concern – women and poverty; women's education and empowerment; violence against women; women and armed conflicts; women and the economy; women in the exercise of power and in decision-making spaces; the institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women; women's human rights; women and the media; women and the environment; it is the girl.

The Fourth World Conference on Women, held in 1995 in the capital of China, had approved the Beijing Declaration, by which the participating governments, including Brazil, committed themselves to complying, by the end of the XNUMXth century, with a series of guarantees about women's rights.

Almost three decades after the signing of this international protocol, very little progress has been made in Brazil regarding the rights of the female population. We have reached a new century with the same atrocious realities affecting women – whether in the conquest of rights in the social and labor fields, or by the perverse violence that advances against them on a daily basis.

We reached 2023 with an air of times that we thought were outdated, almost medieval. The numbers leave no doubt about the brutal escalation of violence, in all its forms, which exterminates, diminishes and objectifies women.

The most recent data, gathered by the Secretariat of Public Security of São Paulo, corroborate this disturbing finding: the first quarter of 2023 was marked by an increase in crimes against women in the state of São Paulo. A total of 62 cases of femicide and 3.551 of rape were recorded – a record for both crimes. According to the Sou da Paz Institute, the number of rapes is the highest since 1996.

The rates of bodily injury and threats against females also increased in the period. Threat crimes against women totaled 25.531 occurrences, an increase of more than 10 thousand cases compared to the same quarter of last year, when 14.945 occurrences were registered.

In turn, cases registered as slander, defamation or injury were six times higher, going from 2.843 cases in 2022 to 17.208 in the first quarter of this year, already under the management of Tarcísio de Freitas, who faces a series of challenges still to be faced. waiting for concrete plans. Starting with the law sanctioned by President Lula in early April, which determines the operation of specialized police stations for assisting women 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.

Currently, there are 140 women's police stations in the state, in addition to the online service, and 77 specialized service rooms with a videoconferencing delegate. However, of these 140 units, only 11 operate with extended hours – 7 in the capital and another four in Barueri, Santos, Sorocaba and Campinas; all the rest of the state is uncovered.

For the uninterrupted attendance of the service as foreseen in the law, the Secretariat of Public Security of São Paulo claims that it would be necessary to hire 2.800 new police officers, of which 700 were delegates, 700 clerks and 1.400 investigators. According to the management, public notices are foreseen for a competition with 2.750 vacancies for civil police officers, but only in the second half of this year.

It is urgent, therefore, that the government act quickly so that this already deficient and precarious picture does not get even worse, because those who are under violent threat cannot wait any longer.

Children and teenagers also in sight

The challenge, as can be seen, is immense. And violence is not restricted to the universe of women. Children and adolescents are also targets of a spectrum of violence that is no less disturbing, in its different forms, including massive co-option by social networks by pedophile gangs, exploitation and sexual harassment, among others.

According to Agência Patricia Galvão – linked to the institute of the same name that produces and disseminates news, data and multimedia content on the rights of Brazilian women – every day, 20 girls are victims of sexual violence in Brazil.

And, according to the historical series of the research “Visible and invisible: the victimization of women in Brazil”, carried out by DataFolha and the Brazilian Public Security Forum, the year 2022 registered the highest percentage of women victims of different forms of domestic violence in Brazil. The majority profile of women victims is composed of women between 16 and 24 years old, black, with children, living in inner cities and who were attacked at home by ex-husbands, partners or boyfriends.

At least 16 years of age, the legal minimum age to marry in the country, a cycle of violence begins, which not infrequently continues into adulthood. This is extremely alarming data, considering that, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), in absolute numbers, Brazil is the fourth country in the world with records of child marriages.

The numbers of marriages of teenagers under 18 years of age were again highlighted after the news that the mayor of Araucária-PR, Hissam Hussein, 65 years old, married a 16-year-old girl. However, despite the repercussions, marriage is not illegal, as in Brazil it is allowed to marry from that age, if there is parental consent. According to data from the NGO Girls Not Brides, more than 2,2 million Brazilian teenagers are married, which represents 36% of minors in the country.

More than seven thousand minors were married in Brazil from 2021 until March of this year, according to data sent to Correio by the National Association of Natural Person Registrars (Arpen). In 2021, 3.334 child marriages were registered, another 3.176 occurred in 2022 and in the first three months of 2023, 718 marriages of minors were recorded.

Despite having a legal loophole in Brazil, marriage before the age of 18 is seen as a “violation” by the United Nations (UN), as it can jeopardize the achievement of gender equality and the full exercise of women's rights.

“Child marriage almost always precedes teenage pregnancy. In developing countries, girls who are married are the majority who give birth. These early pregnancies pose serious risks to girls whose bodies are not yet ready for motherhood. Worldwide, complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls between the ages of 15 and 19.

For all these data, whether at a young age or in adult life, the fact is that women remain with their rights threatened, including in relation to their own physical integrity, thanks in good measure to the macho culture accentuated by the growing misogyny fueled by the discourse of extreme right, which seeks to diminish women in all aspects.

It is necessary to stop, through intensive means of all appropriate legal forces, this cycle of violence that resists and advances. It can no longer be admitted that in this new era of humanity we still allow the victory of hatred, and that the threat to women's lives is one of its worst and most hateful faces.

*Beth Sahão is a state deputy in São Paulo for the Workers' Party.

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