Brazil Must Resist Rising Wave Of Violence And Intolerance

Demonstrators attend a protest against rape and violence against women in Brasilia, Brazil, May 29, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marc
Demonstrators attend a protest against rape and violence against women in Brasilia, Brazil, May 29, 2016. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

People are killed far too often in Brazil. A black kid is killed for carrying a bag of popcorn outside of his home, a gay man is killed for expressing his sexuality, as he should be able to do freely in the 21st century. Women are killed for being women. They are beaten, choked and raped. They are disappeared.

Statistics make all too clear -- Brazil faces an ongoing battle against intolerance.

Female homicides account for 4.8 deaths of every 100,000 people, landing Brazil among the very worst countries in the world in regards to "deaths of women for being women."

When we apply ethnic criteria, the number becomes even scarier. According to the Map of Violence: Homicide of Women in Brazil, from 2003 to 2013, the number of black women murdered increased by 54 percent, from 1,864 to 2,875.

The cases of domestic violence or rape in the past few months alone have shown that there is still so much more to be done in terms of making the population aware of this problem. Only when a young girl is raped by more than 30 men in the outskirts of Rio or when it is revealed that former model Luiza Brunet had four ribs broken by her ex-husband, do we realize that this patriarchal, misogynistic and sexist culture is deeply rooted throughout our society.



We need to undo the naturalized social hierarchies that support the superiority of men over women, of white people over black people, of straight people over gay people.

Incidents of violence related to homophobia and racism have also increased. The 24-year-old student Diego Vieira Machad found dead by Guanabara Bay is the latest tragic example.

In Brazil, people are killed for being black, homosexual and poor.

In a country where Congress has certain reactionary members who carelessly ridicule minorities and normalize hate speech, it is urgent that our society prevents such setbacks and advances with an agenda that extends human rights.

There must be a strong political reaction against the absurdities that take place every day in our country.

To address this problem, we need to undo the naturalized social hierarchies that support the superiority of men over women, of white people over black people, of straight people over gay people. It is also necessary to reverse the democratic disruption we have been experiencing for the past two months. With the rise to power of an illegitimate government, backed by conservative, corrupt and extreme right-wing segments, human rights secretariats face extinction and the budget of public policies continues to suffer brutal cuts.

Fighting against the ongoing coup in Brazil is also fighting for a greater protection of our minorities.

No more meaningless daily murders. Life is too precious.

This post first appeared on HuffPost Brazil. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.