After video of a 16-year-old girl being raped by at least 33 men surfaced online, Brazilians came out in droves to protest rape culture. Further showing the teen support, the hashtag #EstuproNuncaMais (No More Rape) was created and ignited social media. More than a week later, activists have not let the conversation die down. NGO Rio de Paz staged a protest at the famed Copacabana Beach, according to Telesur. More than 400 stained pairs of underwear scattered the beach to represent the number of women raped every three days in Brazil. Multiple images of women with red handprints covering their lips watch from all angles. It’s a striking scene in a place that usually serves as the backdrop for tourists soaking up the sun.
“There are almost 50,000 cases a year, within the context that these are under-reported,” said Rio de Paz founder, Antonio Carlos Costa, to Telesur. “It is suspected that this 50,000 corresponds to 10 percent of the cases which actually take place. We are here protesting, calling on the authorities to combat impunity against this criminal practice and also to implement public policies in poor Brazilian communities, where the women are most vulnerable to the violation of their rights.”
These protests come at an especially pivotal moment in Brazilian politics. On May 12, Brazil’s Senate voted to begin impeachment proceeding against President Dilma Rousseff. As she stands trial, Michel Temer is filling in as interim president. However, within a week of stepping into this new role, he dissolved the Ministry of Culture and assembled an all-male, all-white cabinet. The Ministry of Justice also absorbed the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality and Human Rights – to some, this is a clear sign that only white, straight, cis-gender men are a priority.
But with protests like these, activists are standing up to the normalization of violence against women. Check out a few of the powerful images below: