Brazilians are incensed over an alleged gang rape by 30 men

The World
A woman attends a protest against rape and violence against women in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 27, 2016.

A woman attends a protest against rape and violence against women in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 27.

Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Brazil is coming to terms with a horrific attack that took place in a Rio de Janeiro slum last month.

A 16-year-old girl was allegedly drugged and gang raped by a group of about 30 men — one of them reportedly her boyfriend. Later, a video of the attack was posted on social media.

On Wednesday, Brazilian police said they arrested two men in connection to the incident. The investigation continues.

Meanwhile, the teenage victim has spoken to local media about what happened.

"I was drugged, I was very groggy, there were lots of people with guns, lots of young guys laughing and talking,” she said, according to a translation on various news sites. When asked what she hoped to happen to the men who attacked her, she replied, "I wish they had daughters."

Read more: Brazil's shocking violence against women, in five charts

Manoela Miklos, a social scientist and activist in São Paulo, has been closely watching the events.

She says the case has created a heated debate on violence against women in the country, adding that there have been a series of protests since the news broke.

"A case like this is unusual in terms of the number of men involved, but violence against women and rape are not unusual at all," she says. "A woman is raped every 11 minutes in Brazil."

"A woman is raped every 11 minutes in Brazil," says social scientist.

Miklos believes that there is a "rape culture" in Brazil and it's "about creating a sense of normal." That "normal," she says, is "to be a male, to be rich and to be white, which describes only a minority in our society."

The debate in Brazil has forced political powers to act. Interim President Michel Temer said on Wednesday he is setting up a body to protect women’s rights and fight violence against women.

Miklos thinks this is not enough. “Remember that this is a president that just took office and nominated an all-male cabinet. There are 21 male ministers-all white, all male in Brazil right now,” she says.

Read more: Here's why Brazil’s new cabinet is all men 

The attack comes only a year after Brazil’s Congress passed new laws to increase sentences for violence against women. But women’s rights activists say more needs to be done.

Miklos says that while it's important that Brazilians are having a debate about violence against women, it's unfortunate that it only takes place after such incidents.

"We have to think about education, we have to think about how to deal with the images of women in our society, there's a lot of work to be done," she says.

Most importantly, she adds, is to get justice for the victim of this horrific rape.