An American tourist and her French boyfriend have been subjected to a tumultuous experience which saw the woman being gang raped multiple times by a trio of three locals whilst her boyfriend, a French national was forced to watch whilst at the same time being tied up and physically assaulted.
The incident is said to have happened this past Friday night after the couple flagging down what they thought was a public van in the city of Rid de Janeiro, Brazil.
Nonetheless, a few minutes after the couple boarded the mini-bus, the operators ordered the other passengers to get off and from there proceeded to inflict a degree of unspeakable violations against the couple.
From taking turns raping the woman and beating the man, whom they handcuffed and sometimes struck with a metal crowbar, to also spending the couple’s credit cards up to the their limit.
After enduring a period of six hours of assault the couple both in their 20’s were eventually dumped by the side of a highway where they were eventually able to reach their respective consulates with the assistance of the police.
It wasn’t long after police began a search that three individuals, Wallace Aparecido Souza Silva, Carlos Armando Costa dos Santos and Jonathan Foudakis de Souza were rounded up by authorities after authorities were able to link them to transaction records from the couple’s stolen credit cards and security footage from a gas station camera. The police quickly put together a list of suspects, two of whom were arrested by the end of the day. Their rapid response was widely praised in Brazil and abroad.
To date all three save for one have admitted their role in the crime. It is also understood that the individuals rounded up are responsible for a similar rape that occurred the month before near the city.
The latest event has led to many now wondering out aloud if Rio authorities, who have succeeded in cracking down on much of the city’s drug violence, are up to the task of protecting the waves of tourists expected to flood the city during the World Cup and Olympics. Time will tell…
Reflected Barbara Soares, a preeminent sociologist at the Rio de Janeiro university Cândido Mendes: “I think it is precisely due to the touristic aspect [of the foreigner’s rape case] that the police mobilized the investigation and that it was successful so quickly.”
Nevertheless not everyone believes the rape is simply an issue of future tourism and the city’s tarnished image in the eye of foreigners but underscores a deeper problem with respect to how women are really treated in this part of the world.
Reflected Mauricio Santoro, a human rights researcher with the Brazilian branch of Amnesty International, says he was “distressed” by how much Brazilian media coverage of the foreign couple’s ordeal has focused on the impact it has on the city’s image and tourism.
“Of course it will have an economic effect for tourism and the city, but the most serious concern should be the rights of women in the city. Whether they are foreign or are Brazilian is secondary.”
The question now of course is can a deeper consideration of women’s rights really be arrived at or is that a just tall order in a society that has taken it as second nature that women are for better or worse just second class citizens, even foreign ones….