• Tue, Apr 2 2013

American Tourist’s Gang Rape In Brazil On Public Transportation Is Horrifyingly Familiar

gang-rape-in-brazil-public-van

In a case that is deeply disturbing, both on its own and when you consider its similarities to other recent attacks, an American woman and her French male companion were abducted on a public van for 6 hours between midnight and 6 AM in the Copacabana district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The assailants raped the female as they took turns driving and beating the male tourist with a metal bar, then forced the pair to withdraw money before leaving them somewhere outside the city.

“Everyone should be shocked by this horrendous crime,” said Aparecida Gonçalves, head of Brazil’s office for combating violence against women. While she stated that gang rapes are “relatively rare” in Rio, Gonçalves admitted that sexual assault on public transportation is still an issue in some areas.

The case is disturbingly familiar to that of the Indian woman who was gang raped so brutally while on a moving bus that she died. The world has collectively shaken our fists, yes, but what else could possibly send a message that this is simply unacceptable?

Female tourism in India has fallen 25% — something that one can only hope will give the government enough reason to do more about rape, though there shouldn’t ever have to be a monetary incentive to protect people from sexual violence. The interesting thing here is that women are not boycotting India on principal or to incite a reaction — we are simply afraid, and why shouldn’t we be? Females, and their companions, are being attacked by groups of men who aren’t ‘satisfying their lust,’ they’re seeing women alone or nearly alone as targets rather than human beings. Given that 5,300 people in Brazil reported rape to the police in just the first six months of 2012, I would say that Brazil — which is also preparing for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics — has a serious problem in need of addressing in a serious manner.

Obviously, rape has been an issue for much longer than the past year or two. But when will our governments collectively acknowledge that it’s a truly pressing problem — a global one that knows no national, ethnic, racial or religious lines — and that it desperately needs to become a priority?

The woman who survived the attack received treatment at two hospitals. The men who attacked her have been apprehended, though what will happen to them now is not yet clear what will become of them. The French male who was assaulted stayed in Rio to help the investigation, while the female left Brazil. While I am glad she was (rightfully) able to leave the country without issue, I’m still so angry about what happened to her; there is no reason a woman shouldn’t be able to board public transportation, take a vacation, go out at night or do anything, really, without being raped. This woman deserved, and still deserves, to be safe from violence, regardless of where she went, what she did, or how late at night she did it.

Photo: Raúl! / Flickr

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  • Maggie

    I think the punishment for rape should be penis removal. If a person goes on a shooting spree, what do the authorities do? Take away his weapon and throw him in jail so he can’t/won’t re-offend. The same should be done for rapists.

  • MR

    I read in the Journal yesterday that they got them on film at a gas station holding the metal weapon, and also one had her cell phone on him when they were apprehended. Kerry should push their judicial system to put them away for a long time. Egypt and now this. Kerry better deliver.

  • Tania

    Overall tourism fell 25%, female tourists fell by 35%. Even more.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.gilchrease Michael Gilchrease

      how many of these dirt countries totally depend on the usa for any kind of commerce..cut them off and say f all of you.

    • Tania

      Ah, yes. That is a perfectly sane and reasonable response.

    • Artur

      What happened in India is different from what happen in Brazil and what happened in New York 2 years ago when an turist 20 years world was also rapped.

      Brazil and India don’t depende on nothing on US, and even so rape happen as much as in other place in the world.

      Stop being idiot.

      ps: Was not an public trasnportation, was in an ilegal VAN a 1:00 am

  • anna

    god, i accidentally started a rape discussion on the mad men internet board, which is now full of men saying “this is the problem when women cry rape. it clearly wasn’t. if she didn’t want to have sex with him she could have not opened the door.”

    anyway, it is positively terrifying that so many men seem to believe that it’s your responsibility to avoid rape. if you go out/open the door/walk down alleys, you deserve it.
    it’s so ingrained in our culture, it’s awful

  • tawster

    Fix your headline. It’s completely inaccurate.

    This incident is not the same. They were kidnapped… then raped. The headline is simply wrong. Tourist was not raped on public transportation. This is not at all the same as what happened in India.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.gilchrease Michael Gilchrease

      right..get a life you fat headed one sided 3rd grader…your the reason this shit happens.

    • tawster

      “You’re” you mean. No, see? The situation is horrible. What happened is horrible. That is not in debate, asshole.

      So.. there is this terrible crime, and STILL the author of this article decided to fabricate a headline in order to get more readers. Pathetic. And *you* are pathetic for implicitly defending the practice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sameurysm Samantha Escobar

      1) From the NYT: “An American woman was raped by three men aboard a public van in a six-hour abduction over the weekend that began in the seaside district of Copacabana, the police said.”
      Yes, the kidnappers forced others off the van, but it is still a piece of public transportation that they were attacked on.
      2) Why would meaning that it happened on a public van mean that I wanted more readers? I’m pretty sure the gang rape of a woman for six hours is a pretty huge deal; mentioning where it occurred is a detail that seemed, uh, necessary?
      3) In the case of the Indian woman who was raped on a bus, the pair who were attacked were tricked into boarding by six men and held against their will. In this case, the pair were on a piece of public transport and held against their will. The cases are obviously not identical, but considering they both occurred after two people boarded public transportation, it felt worth mentioning.

    • tawster

      You know, Samantha, I owe you an apology. I was probably too harsh. I do think it is a stretch though. The van was stolen and driven away (i.e., they didn’t do all this horrible stuff to the couple in a public space, like they did in India where folks just turned a blind eye). They scared a bunch of people off a van… kept two of them, and then kidnapped them with their new van… It’s a very different crime from the perspective of the public shame in inaction and the brazenness… that was so apparent in the case in India.

      I.e., I think it is a stretch to make the connection, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt were I can see you made that connection. So, I apologize for being so… dismissive.

      So, there you go folks enjoying this diatribe. Yes, a critic has apologized for being overzealous in his criticism.

      Samantha, have a nice day. Keep reporting.

    • Fed_Up18

      Funny how the story says just that: they were ON the van for 6 hours, being raped & beaten. The only difference is that they didn’t kill the woman. Thank G-d.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Seidel/100000043255846 Joshua Seidel

    Women should boycott countries where this happens. When the money dries up, watch the authorities all of a sudden start caring REAL quick. Gang rape should bring the death penalty.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.gilchrease Michael Gilchrease

      the usa should napalm these countries, put strong sanctions to starve and stop commerce…..countries of animals only change behavior when they are forced. death starvation, and shame will make the world think….cruel? no shit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.gilchrease Michael Gilchrease

    does anyone really think the Christ isn’t going to lay these countries to waste? pray all you want it was told from the foundation of creation…..the perpetrators burn eternally.
    s