Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has come out in assist of Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, the nationwide soccer star accused of raping a mannequin in Paris final month, which activists say may additional discourage victims from coming ahead to report sexual violence.
The soccer participant, who is often referred to as Neymar Jr., is “going through a hard time,” Bolsonaro advised reporters final week. “But I believe him.”
The president’s remarks on the continued case despatched shockwaves throughout Brazil, a rustic the place specialists say reporting charges for sexual crimes are decrease than they need to be.
Najila Trindade Mendes de Souza, a 26-year-old mannequin, waived her proper to anonymity to file her criticism towards Neymar, 27, who has vehemently denied the allegations and accused her of blackmail.
They each say that Neymar paid for de Souza to fly to satisfy him in Paris in May after they’d exchanged a number of messages.
“I was prepared to engage in a consensual act,” de Souza mentioned throughout an interview with the SBT channel. “But it became rape as soon as he began acting violently, when he did not comprehend that we could not go any further because we didn’t have a condom.”
Bolsonaro dismissed the incident as: “This woman travels to a different continent, a bunch of stuff happens, and then she gets back to Brazil, and she wants this to happen.”
After Bolsonaro confirmed his assist for Neymar final week, the hashtag #EstupradaDeTaubaté (#TaubatéRapeVictim) started trending on Twitter in Brazil, a reference to a lady from the town of Taubaté whose case gained notoriety in 2012 after she falsely claimed to be pregnant with quadruplets. Hundreds of posts used the hashtag to attempt to discredit de Souza’s allegation.
In 2016, 49,497 circumstances of rape have been reported throughout Brazil, in line with the nation’s 11th annual Report on Public Security. However the true figures are believed to be a lot larger — someplace between 300,000 and 500,000 circumstances, in line with a research by the Institute for Utilized Financial Analysis and the Brazilian Public Security Discussion board.
Bolsonaro’s personal observe report on girls’s rights and LGBTQ rights has been abhorrent. Authorized specialists advised HuffPost Brazil that siding with a person accused of sexual assault earlier than the investigation into the allegations has even been accomplished signifies that the president is detached to survivors of sexual violence.
“The message [that Bolsonaro is sending] is that Brazil does not reject violence against women. It reinforces the idea that women should not complain or draw attention to certain issues,” mentioned Mônica Sapucaia Machado, a professor on the Brazilian College of Regulation.
Flavia Biroli, a political scientist and professor on the College of Brasília, mentioned that the president downplaying a report of rape contributes to “naturalizing violence against women in a country where it is occurring at an alarming rate and on a daily basis.”
Bolsonaro himself was accused of incitement to rape whereas serving as a congressman in 2016. Two years prior, he had advised fellow Congresswoman Maria do Rosário, “I would by no means rape you as a result of you don’t deserve it.” That case has been on maintain ever since Bolsonaro was elected president.
The president’s feedback contribute to victim-blaming and misconceptions about what consent is, specialists say.
“Either sex is consensual, or it’s rape,” Biroli mentioned.
“Any attempt to make light of this clear delineation is contributing to the justification of the brutal violence of rape and the dehumanization of women,” she added. “This is the understanding present in national and international law. It is based on the assertion that women are individuals who are free to make decisions and whose decisions must be respected.”
Machado mentioned too many individuals search for “justifications” to excuse sexual violence.
“Once again, it’s the same assertion about a woman’s position, as if questions of ideological, religious and moral character were the foundation of the right [of a woman] to not be treated violently,” she mentioned.
Machado additionally known as Bolsonaro’s stance a break from Brazil’s historical past of aligning with worldwide organizations that promote girls’s rights.
“It’s troubling that our country is abandoning the position of those who defend equality, fight for an end to violence, and want to build a safe country for women ― instead becoming a country that questions women’s claims when they report,” she mentioned.
The president’s feedback additionally could go away the door open for different public officers to behave in a similar way.
Congressman Carlos Jordy, a member of Bolsonaro’s occasion, launched a invoice that may enhance jail time for falsely reporting crimes reminiscent of rape by as much as one-third. He mentioned the invoice “serves to discourage rash behavior that may jeopardize the lives of innocent people.”
Jordy’s tweet in protection of the invoice was retweeted by the president’s son Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro.
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