Brazilian Teen Girl Speaks Out About Brutal Gang Rape

Brazilian Teen Girl Speaks Out About Brutal Gang Rape

On an evening weekend in a Rio de Janeiro favela, a 16-year-old girl planned to visit her boyfriend. On her way to his house, she came across 30 men who brutally raped her and recorded the assault in a now horrifying viral video. More than a week after the May 21 attack, the young woman is speaking out.

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The survivor, who hasn’t been named, told Al Jazeera what she saw upon waking up. “There were lots of people with guns – lots of young guys laughing and talking,” the brasileira said, adding that she was drugged and groggy.

The woman is torn up about the physical violence she experienced that night and the emotional one she continues to endure as victim-blaming viewers of the gang rape video and photos fault her for the assault.

"It not only hurt me, it hurt my soul, because people judged me, tried to blame me for something which was not my fault. They robbed me, not just in material goods, but in a physical way,” she said.

According to the Washington Post, thousands of commenters are suggesting that she is to blame for the attack, saying that she should have never been in the neighborhood and that she wanted to be raped. Others have even threatened her for her rape.

This victim-blaming isn’t exclusive to spectators, either. The initial male police officer interviewing the girl was taken off the case after he asked her whether she had a habit of participating in group sex.

The investigation has since been taken over by a female officer.

"She needs protection," Cristina Bento, police chief for crimes against minors, said. "She needs care. A rape crime did happen. Now what I’m trying to find out is the extent of this rape – how many people were involved.”

That task might be difficult, however. Physical testing was performed on the girl five days after the attack, though the recommended window to administer rape kits is 72 hours following the assault.

"We did not collect evidence of violence, but this does not mean that there was no violence," Fernando Veloso, Rio police chief, told the Associated Press. “Traces were lost because of time.” The man added that his team did not learn of the rape until it appeared on social media days later.

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Not everyone is blaming the girl for the crime. More than 100,00 people shared the photo of the man believed to have circulated the assault images. On Friday, demonstrators in Rio gathered to protest the assault and frequent violence against women in their city and country.

Two men, Rai de Souza, 22, and Lucas Persomo Duarte Santos, 20, have been arrested in connection with the assault.