Brazil social media images show horrific gang rape

  • 29/05/2016
Brazil social media images show horrific gang rape

There's a growing outcry in Brazil after social media images appear to show a teenage girl being gang raped by more than 30 men.

There are accusations that so-called "punishment rape" has grown to epidemic proportions in the country.

The 16-year-old is with police after images of the horrific gang rape were posted on social media. Some viewers called the police after watching the video, in which three perpetrators claimed the girl had been raped. Others clicked the "like" button, or added smiley faces and thumbs up.

Fury at the rape, the video and so many people's reaction to it burst onto Rio de Janeiro's streets last night, with people chanting "sexists, fascists" and banners reading: "No to rape culture. It wasn't her fault."

Rape goes unreported across the world, but in Brazil it is believed to be especially bad. Victims fear retaliation, blame and a lack of police action. It has been reported that the victim of this rape posted her own statement on Facebook saying: "I really thought I was going to be badly judged. This could happen to anyone. It does not hurt the uterus but the soul, because there are cruel people not being punished!"

"What happened with this young girl was completely unacceptable," says local journalist Joana Cocareli. "It's a red alert that finally has gotten the attention of not only those who are concerned about women, but also those who aren't so concerned. It took the horror mainstream. It's finally happened."

The police have issued arrest warrants for four men.

"The police began to investigate this because of the images that were spread," says Rio de Janeiro head of Civil Police Ernando Veloso. "Later, we were able to identify the victim. We are investigating a possible gang rape. We are also investigating the crime of circulating obscene imagery."

One of those being sought is the girl's former boyfriend. Campaigners fear this was a punishment rape -- something it's claimed is at epidemic proportions in Brazil. A similarly horrific attack in the northeast of the country was also reported last week.

"It's a practice that is undertaken as a punishment, that we call punishment rape," says coordinator of The Defence of Women Group Arlanza Revelo. "All of society is mobilised by the gravity of the situation. It's a mirror of the conservatism that still remains in our society."

The country's first female president, who was impeached last month, voiced her concern, changing her profile picture with the slogan: "I support the end of rape culture."

The video of the attack was also seen by the girl's family. Her grandmother told a newspaper in Sao Paolo how she had cried at watching the clips. Rape she said was "a great affliction" for Brazil.

Channel Four