An act of “barbaric” violence in which a 22-year-old gay man was gang-raped and tortured has sparked a fierce backlash in Brazil and is evidence of a growing wave of hate crimes in the country, according to human rights activists.
The man, who has not been identified, was attacked last week in Florianópolis by three armed men who used sharp objects during the assault and forced him to carve homophobic insults on his legs, activists said.
His attackers left him on the street where they found him and took him to hospital. Now he is recovering at home. Verdi Furlanetto, the police chief, confirmed to The Guardian that his force is investigating, but there have been no arrests yet.
“This is a terrifying crime, but it is very common in Brazil, and violence, not only against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but also against women, blacks and immigrants, is getting worse,” said Lirous Ávila. , President of the Defense Association. Human Rights, an organization that helps victims of violence in Florianópolis.
Ávila supports the victim’s family and added that the news of the attack, which came to light during pride month, provoked a great reaction at the national level. She said opinion had been divided, with some people shocked by the case while others justified it, saying the man was gay. “It is absurd to justify brutal and barbaric violence,” he said.
Brazil has one of the most alarming rates of violence and discrimination against LGBT people in the world. Cristian González Cabrera, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said that while the Supreme Court outlawed violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2019, “the government must take additional urgent measures to prevent this epidemic of violence against people. LGBT. ”.
“Violence against LGBT people in Brazil has grown a lot recently,” said Margareth Hernandes, a Florianópolis lawyer and president of the gender rights commission. “Brazil is the world champion of LGBT murders. We are a very conservative country where there are still many prejudices. Hate speech ends up spreading violence ”.
In 2020, 237 LGBT people died in situations of violence; There were 224 murders and 13 suicides, according to Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest LGBT rights organization in Latin America. The National Ombudsman’s Office informed Human Rights Watch that, between January and June 2020, it received 1,134 complaints of violence, discrimination and other abuses against LGBT people. Data of the government hotline to report abuse, revealed that between 2011 and 2017, there were 12,477 complaints of violence against LGBT people in Brazil.
Hernandes, along with Ávila, attributes this increase in violence in part to the attitude of the leadership in Brazil. President Jair Bolsonaro has a long history of LGBT-phobic and misogynistic comments, even saying that he is a “proud homophobe.”
“We have a president who aggravated this violence,” Avila said. “It seems that the population feels they have the right to commit these violent acts against the LGBT population, influenced by Bolsonaro.”
There have been other homophobic attacks in the country where objects have been used on the victim. Professor Luiz Mott, gay rights activist and founder of Grupo Gay da Bahia, cited the case of Wesner Oliveira, 17 who died after attackers pushed a hose of compressed air from a car wash into him. Mott said attackers sometimes kill and then maim victims, even cutting off their genitals.
Perpetrators of hate crimes often go unpunished, Mott added. “A serious problem in relation to homophobic and transphobic crimes is impunity,” he said. “The police, for reasons of homophobia or structural incapacity, do not investigate all murders. This impunity brings with it new crimes ”.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism