Brazilians Cover a Rio Beach With Underwear to Protest Rape Culture

Brazilians Cover a Rio Beach With Underwear to Protest Rape Culture
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Brazilians came together at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on Monday to place hundreds of red underwear on the sand in protest of violence against women following the alleged gang rape of a teenage girl, telesur reports.

MORE: Brazilian Teen Girl Speaks Out About Brutal Gang Rape

The 16-year-old, whose name hasn’t been released, was purportedly attacked on May 21. A video of the assault, which shows 30 men brutally raping the teen, was later posted on social media, bringing the issue of violence against women and rape culture to the masses.

A total of 420 panties were laid out during the demonstration, representing the number of women who are raped in the South American country every 72 hours. Beside them stood 20 large posters of a photograph series by Marcio Freitas called “I Will Never be Silenced.”

"There are almost 50,000 cases a year, within the context that these are under-reported. 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," said Antonio Carlos Costa, the founder of Rio de Paz, the group that organized the protest.

Local Fatima Neves participated in the demonstration in an effort to fight the normalization of gendered violence.

"If your child sees any kind of abuse at home—even if it is not physical violence, it could be psychological, moral—it normalizes the violence, so we have to try to break this circle," she said.

PLUS: What Rape Culture Looks Like in the Latino Community

The Copacabana rally is among a series of protests that have spread around the country since the assault.