A girl is sexually harassed each 20 hours on São Paulo’s sprawling public transit system, in accordance with a HuffPost Brazil evaluation, regardless of a brand new legislation in Brazil geared toward curbing the pervasive downside.

Greater than 80 % of girls in Brazil have been harassed in public areas, in accordance with a 2016 YouGov survey. Perpetrators traditionally hardly ever confronted greater than a nice, specialists say, however can now be sentenced to as much as 5 years in jail due to a legislation that took impact in September.

The Sexual Harassment Regulation was handed earlier this 12 months amid an uproar over the arrest and swift launch of a person who ejaculated on a fellow bus passenger. The crime was thought-about a misdemeanor.

This classification gave perpetrators a way of impunity and confirmed a scarcity of regard for violence in opposition to girls, stated Silvia Chakian, a São Paulo prosecutor who focuses on crimes in opposition to girls.

“These circumstances was once left in a legislative hole,” Chakian stated. “It was troublesome to discover a authorized framing between ‘insult to decency,’ which is a misdemeanor with an insignificant penalty, and the crime of rape, which is a extra critical crime with jail phrases of six to 10 years.”

The brand new legislation defines sexual harassment as a lewd act in opposition to somebody with out their consent that’s dedicated by somebody “to fulfill their very own lust or that of a 3rd particular person.” It carries a penalty of 1 to 5 years in jail.

Between Sept. 25, when the legislation took impact, and Oct. 23, 36 incidents of sexual harassment had been reported on buses, trains and subways within the São Paulo metropolitan space alone, in accordance with a HuffPost Brazil evaluation of transit authority information.

Regardless of the issue’s persistence, the legislation is broadly seen as a vital step towards curbing harassment of girls in public areas.

Reporting Harassment

The primary arrest for sexual harassment on São Paulo’s public transit system was made the day after the legislation took impact.

A girl reported {that a} man sat subsequent to her on a practice and ran his hand over her legs. She acquired off the practice on the subsequent station and reported the incident to safety officers, who discovered the suspect and introduced him to police. After an preliminary listening to, the person was launched pending the result of his trial, however he’s required to test in with authorities every month till the case goes to courtroom, in accordance with the São Paulo State Courtroom of Justice.

The incident was one in every of 13 circumstances of sexual harassment reported between Sept. 25 and Oct. 23 on São Paulo trains, in accordance with transit authority information. Six different circumstances had been reported on metro space buses. Seventeen incidents had been reported on the town’s subways, and subway officers say 13 of these resulted in arrests.

This file photo from 2013 shows passengers riding escalators to access subway platforms in Sao Paulo.


ASSOCIATED PRESS

This file picture from 2013 exhibits passengers driving escalators to entry subway platforms in Sao Paulo.

The three corporations that handle public transportation within the better São Paulo space advise victims of sexual harassment to right away search assist from transit workers — bus drivers or safety officers at practice and subway stations — and to establish perpetrators, if attainable. Representatives from the businesses stated they’d educated their workers to assist these girls  and have been intensifying campaigns to fight harassment.

Metrô, the town’s subway authority, permits customers to report incidents and ship pictures and movies to authorities through a cell app or SMS service. The town’s practice authority permits additionally permits victims to report harassment anonymously by way of its personal SMS service.

Used Condoms In Luggage

However the reporting system hasn’t been efficient for everybody. Clara Novais, a 27-year-old journalist, instructed HuffPost Brazil that she couldn’t discover any subway authority to assist her after a person put a used condom in her bag.

“I felt a liquid dripping on me and thought it is likely to be my lunch that was leaking out of my backpack, however after I stopped to look intently, it was really a used condom,” she stated. “I had seen different freaky sexual circumstances on the subway, and my first response was to suppose, ‘I don’t imagine that is occurring to me.’” The alleged incident occurred on a practice on Oct. 2,10 days after the legislation took impact.

Novais stated she couldn’t discover an worker to assist her as soon as she acquired off the practice. “I complained on the [train authority] web site and printed [my account] on social media,” she stated. “So earlier than going to the police station, I used to be interviewed by some media shops and went to make the police report at night time.”

Different tales started to emerge after Novais went public.

Rebecca Barboza, a 25-year-old designer, instructed HuffPost Brazil she discovered a condom on her belongings on the identical day as Novais.

“It occurred on my birthday. I used to be already leaving the subway, on the escalator, and was distracted answering texts after I felt one thing chilly on my again,” she stated. “I ran my hand over it and smelled one thing horrible. Once I took the backpack off, I noticed the condom.”

Barboza went to a rest room to scrub her garments and stated one other lady observed she was visibly shaken. The girl introduced Barboza to transit authority employees, who suggested her to file a police report at a station contained in the terminal.

Authorities there refused to label the offense as sexual harassment, Barboza stated, and as a substitute categorized it as a misdemeanor “insult to decency.”

“From the time I arrived, I stated it was sexual harassment, and the official stated it was not,” she stated. “I requested why, and he stated there was no bodily contact.”

I feel placing a used condom in somebody’s purse, in opposition to her will, with out her consent, characterizes sexual harassment. … We must wait to see how the judiciary will cope with it — what they’ll and gained’t view as sexual harassment.
Ana Paula Braga, a lawyer with the Feminist Community of Jurists

Ana Paula Braga, a lawyer with the Feminist Community of Jurists, stated she thought each circumstances may meet the necessities of harassment beneath the brand new legislation, since condoms have a transparent sexual goal.

“I feel placing a used condom in somebody’s purse, in opposition to her will, with out her consent, characterizes sexual harassment,” Braga stated. “What jurists have been discussing is how the courts will choose this lewd act in apply. We must wait to see how the judiciary will cope with it — what they’ll and gained’t view as sexual harassment.”

Paula Machado Souza, a girls’s rights specialist at São Paulo Public Defender’s Workplace, sees different potential issues with the large scope of the laws. “Some circumstances of rape are being reclassified as sexual harassment,” she stated. “In the long run, judges will resolve the scope of this regulation. And we come from a judiciary system that also must study to cope with gender points, to know what gender violence, sexual violence, and lewd acts are. The legislation has not but comprehended these ideas and replicates the chauvinist and patriarchal tradition.”

When requested concerning the two condom circumstances, Chakian stated it was unimaginable to say if they are often framed beneath the brand new prison classification, including that every must be rigorously assessed.

In response to inquiries concerning the classification of each condom incidents, the Civil Police stated that every case “is classed based mostly on the report given by the sufferer on the time of registration and could also be modified throughout the investigations, with out prejudice to the accountability of harassers.” Each circumstances are at present beneath investigation.

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