“Women and Rights” Campaign calls on society and government
to end violence and promote gender equality
Initiative to be launched this Friday (5/8) in Rio de Janeiro, with the participation
of Maria da Penha, Minister Luiza Bairros (Racial Equality) and Subsecretary
for Countering Violence Against Women, Aparecida Gonçalves (Women’s
Policies). With pieces focusing men, women in situations of violence and populations
in Brazil’s North and Northeast regions, the campaign highlights the
importance of the Maria da Penha Law and services for women in situations
On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the sanctioning of the Maria da Penha
Law (Law No. 11,340/06), the United Nations, through its Joint Team on AIDS,
together with the Maria da Penha Institute other partners will launch the
campaign “Women and Rights”, this Friday (5/8), at 10.30 a.m.
in Rio de Janeiro. Participating in the launch ceremony will be Maria da Penha
Maia Fernandes, whose survival story lead to the creation of the law; Racial
Equality Minister Luiza Bairros; Subsecretary for Countering Violence Against
Women, Aparecida Gonçalves; Federal Congresswoman Jandira Feghali;
the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Brazil, Jorge Chediek; the Coordinator
of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Brazil, Pedro
Chequer; the Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
in Brazil, Harold Robinson; the Programme Coordinator of UN Women - the United
Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Júnia
Puglia; the campaign’s actors and actresses; civil society representatives
and other authorities.
Whilst raising the Brazilian population’s awareness about reducing
violence and promoting gender equality and women’s health, the “Women
and Rights” campaign highlights the importance of the Maria da Penha
Law and the network of services for women in situations of violence in Brazil,
such as the 180 telephone Women’s Helpline, police stations for women,
sheltered housing, special courts and criminal courts, specialized services
Through three videos the “Women and Rights” campaign focuses
on the following audiences: men, women in situations of violence and populations
in Brazil’s North and Northeast regions.
An emblematic case worldwide
All the pieces of the “Women and Rights” campaign feature the
Bio Pharmacist Maria da Penha Maia Fernandes, who was battered by her husband
for six years and suffered two attempts of murder: in one of the attempts
she was shot and left paraplegic; in the other she was electrocuted and almost
drowned. A survivor in search of her rights, Maria da Penha gained the support
of women’s movements and submitted her case to the Organization of American
States’ (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Among the recommendations
made by the OAS in 2001 was the creation of a law to prevent, punish and eliminate
violence against women, and that Maria da Penha should receive compensation.
This finally happened seven years after the OAS made its suggestion and 25
years after she suffered the two murder attempts.
According to UN research, one in every three women will be a victim of violence
at some time in their life. The elimination of violence is one of the priorities
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reinforced by the campaign “UNiTE
to End Violence Against Women” the goal of which is to mobilize a variety
of audiences by 2015, including men leaders, youth, non-traditional communities
and the media.
The first video of the “Women and Rights” campaign is aimed at
men. Actors Milton Gonçalves and Bernardo Mesquita and dancer Carlinhos
de Jesus call on the male population to put an end to violence against women.
The video presents recent data on violence against women, published in 2010
by the Perseu Abramo Foundation, showing that one in four men knows of a close
relative who has hit their wife and that almost half of all men have friend
or acquaintance who assault their wives. In the video the actors talk about
the progress made by women in Brazilian society and take a stand for gender
equality, in a reference to the strategic role men can play in eliminating
violence against women.
In the second film four women – one Black, one Indigenous, one White
and the other middle-aged – seek help in a police station for women.
The sequence records the moment when the women decide they’ve had enough
of violence and turn to public services for help. The video shows that violence
against women affects all women, regardless of race, ethnicity, social class
or age, in addition to highlighting the important role of specialized police
stations for women victims.
In the third film two women from the country’s North and Northeast
regions – one Black and the other Indigenous – wash clothes in
a river and talk about the first signs of violence, when men start to try
to control their lives. This video was produced inspired on the indigenous
and riverside communities of North and Northeast Brazil, and who were consulted
through the United Nations Integrated Plan for the State of Amazonas (“Amazonaids”),
as a tool for raising the awareness of the local population.
More investments: policies for women
In Brazil on average 10 women are murdered every day and 70% of assaults
against women occur at home. The phenomenon of violence in the country is
an issue that brings new challenges for government and society. These include
expanding the network of services for women in situations of violence and
increased investment in public policies focusing women’s autonomy.
The “Women and Rights” campaign is an initiative of the United
Nations, through its Joint Team on AIDS, and its partners. It is lead by UNAIDS
– the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS; UN Women – the
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women; UNFPA
– the United Nations Population Fund; UNICEF – the United Nations
Children’s Fund; UNIC Rio – the United Nations Information Centre
in Brazil and is subscribed in partnership with the Maria da Penha Institute.
The films were produced by the Documenta Filmes studio, directed by Angela
Zoé and coordinated by [X] Brasil Publicidade em Causas/Daniel de Souza.
The campaign’s original symbol, created based on concepts defined by
the United Nations, is signed by designer Jair de Souza.
Available on Friday (5/8) after 10 am Brasilia time: