Home » Blog » Gabriela Manssur, prosecutor, argues that “there is a lack of goodwill in the fight against violence against women”

Gabriela Manssur, prosecutor, argues that “there is a lack of goodwill in the fight against violence against women”

Luka Dias, a 37-year-old journalist, was kept in private prison and tortured by her boyfriend, Fred Henrique Lima Moreira, with brass knuckles and a truncheon. A 12-year-old Yanomami indigenous girl was raped and killed by miners in Roraima. Councilwoman Dandara Gissoni (PSD) was assaulted by Wellington Felipe (Citizenship) at the City Council of Caçapava, in the interior of São Paulo. So far, 14 women, aged between 16 and 24, have agreed to testify in the inquiry that investigates the sexual crimes committed by businessman Saul Klein, 68. Jaqueline Carletto, 29, was killed by her fiance, Denis Magalhães. He threw boiling water in her ear while Jaqueline slept.

What does that mean? That violence against women has materialized. This type of situation, which in the past was silenced, ruled by prejudice and practically ignored by the media, is now the focus of several movements and seen by everyone, at all times. The exposure of aggressors and cases of abuse is part of a transformation that has taken place in society, with the growth of social activism, demonstrations on social networks, demand for improvements in public policies, among other points: “Women are more aware of the their rights and with more intellectual autonomy”, says the prosecutor Gabriela Manssur, a member of the Special Action Group to Combat Domestic Violence (GEVID) of the Public Ministry of São Paulo and creator of the Justiça de Saia and As Justiceiras movements in an interview with women’s tips.

According to the annual survey carried out by the Brazilian Public Security Forum, in 2021 more than 1,300 women were victims of femicide crimes in Brazil. The average is more than 25 cases per week, that is, one woman is killed every 8 hours in the country. O women’s tips talked to Manssur, who reports the routine of violence against women, the lack of goodwill on the part of civil society and the public power to change this situation and what are the reasons that lead women to relate to violent men. Check out!

Women’s Tips – How to evaluate the increasing cases of violence against women?

Gabriela Manssur – There is the negative side, because this alarming situation is everywhere, classes and affects women, whites, blacks, indigenous people… On the other hand, the visibility around violence materialized the situation. The speech that has been propagated has helped. When you see on social networks and the media, aggressions and harassment committed in public spaces such as chambers of deputies and councilors, public and private companies, medical offices, classrooms and even by spiritual leaders, you have the materialization of violence. One example is the recent case of the Yanomami, which began with the report of the rape of a 12-year-old indigenous girl by illegal miners in Roraima, and ended with the disappearance of the entire tribe in which she lived. Several fronts demanded measures and there was public and civil society movement around the problem. And this pressure and awareness of the fact also make the discourse against women become anti-political. I want to see who will say that it’s okay for a politician to leave the plenary tribune and try to force a kiss on a woman, hear a deputy talk about how easy it is to “get” women because they are poor. Before, they claimed to be a “joke”, but today they need to recant and serve sentences.

It is noticeable that in many cases, the woman returns to live with the aggressor. Why does this happen in all layers of society?

Psychological dependence is one of them because this issue also involves feeling. Nobody is made of steel, people make plans and have good times together. Letting go of the sentimental side is a much more difficult process. It’s not like suing who stole your car and that’s it. It involves feeling and expectations created around that relationship. You have to understand that abusive men are manipulators. They make the woman believe that she is to blame, criticize her behavior, lower her self-esteem and this happens because she is surrendered to her feelings and dependent on that “hit and blow” situation, involving the emotional and psychological side. There is also fear, the financial issue, the feeling of impunity, the “nobody will know”, many people still naturalize this issue and try to minimize the consequences.

And social pressures, how do they act in the perpetuation of crimes committed against women?

In this case, I can highlight two of them. The woman is still considered responsible for maintaining the family at any cost, otherwise the charge always falls on her: “she could not hold the marriage”, “she wanted to be the man of the relationship”, “she is crazy, it is not possible to live with”. For society, marriage is the only institution that brings happiness, it still has the weight of children, financial dependence, and other issues. Single women are afraid of being alone because it’s “ugly”, they question what problem she has, the idea is that she needs to have a steady relationship to be happy.

Many of the women killed and beaten have protective measures against their aggressors. Why do they come back, how to make them respect the law?

It is necessary to be careful with this issue because there are many cases of women who suffered violence, asked for protective measures and there was no recurrence of cases. The measure is a protective instrument and has a positive effect. What we need is to monitor these measures. This does not happen because some of the authorities use the women’s agenda as a platform. They talk a lot and invest little in public policies. Goodwill is lacking when making the necessary investment and working to combat the problem. We already have the solution, we just need to implement it. The Maria da Penha Law is considered the third best law in the world, but Brazil is among the five countries that kill most women in the world. If you have correct supervision and investment, it is possible to reduce this problem.

We are in an election year. Is voting for women the key for the government to invest in this issue?

Women are more aware of their rights and have more intellectual and financial autonomy. Before, they were convinced by the vote of their husband, boss, boyfriend. Always someone male. The tendency is for women to see themselves represented by women who will understand the pain of violence, mother’s love, family needs, the right to breastfeed, the triple journey. They are the ones who feel the taste and pain of being who we are and these guidelines should be discussed together with men, not in isolation. I don’t want a man to decide on my sanitary napkin the penalty for a crime against a woman. We have to be in the same place discussing this. It is our right to be there. You can vote for a woman, of course, but today she has the freedom to vote, which was not the case before. And this is another victory for us.

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