We are more than 100 days in confinement. And all this time in social isolation has provided us with moments and situations that perhaps in our “normal” would not be possible. Gym photos give way to homemade bread photos, many people have gained more time to sleep a little more due to the home office, read more novels, in short, we have gained more time. However, what does not change is domestic violence. According to the UN report, “Violence against women and girls is an invisible pandemic”, Points out that underreporting was already a challenge without a pandemic and that less than 40% of women victims of violence sought any help or reported the crime. Less than 10% of women seeking help went to the police. And nowadays, with this new scenario it is more complicated, because many victims are in isolation with the aggressor. Despite this, some measures already created, others being approved, the debate through audiovisual productions, the discussion that has been fostered by social networks, can open the way for more women to be able to denounce and live free from aggression and violence.
Isolation is causing stress and a lot of concern about health, money and the future. And as countries report an increase in more coronavirus contamination, less data on domestic violence is reported and more cases of aggression are increasing. Many measures such as the “Sinal Vermelho Campaign”, the hotline 180 and a recent project that releases emergency aid of up to R$ 1,200 for victims of domestic violence are intended to help victims report. But it is not easy.
Feelings that make reporting difficult
“Shame is not an individual woman's fantasy. It takes shape in relationships. Cases in which women denounce their aggressors are very common and they are welcomed and women are not. ” - Melissa de Oliveira
Fear, guilt, insecurity, shame, financial dependence are factors that make it difficult to ask for help. According to the psychologist, master in public health and professor at IBMR, Melissa de Oliveira, it is important to always point out in this sense that shame, fear, dependence are never just feelings, they correspond to the victim's reality. A middle class woman, financially independent, intellectualized, perhaps denouncing involves not only shame, but also processes that are already very difficult. And worse in the case of a woman who does not have a guaranteed income, who lives in rural areas, for example, or who lives in a reality in which marriage is very central, that woman may be abandoned socially and by her closest family, making the victim feel guilty.
The fact of having a project that helps the victim financially is very significant. The then project reported by the deputy Natalie Bonavides (PT-RN), shows the importance of having women who are representatives in the political areas of society. After all, to guarantee equal rights in the legal, assistance and even democratic directions of public policies that serve both sexes, it is necessary to have male and female rulers, thus promoting social equality.
“We usually think that the aggressor is a bad guy, that monster. It is important to deconstruct this idea of 'monster', because what he does may be a monstrosity, but he does not. He is our 'nice neighbor', our 'uncle of fine people', a 'good father', a 'husband in love'. And perhaps that is why it is difficult to identify the aggressor. ” - Melissa de Oliveira
Does audiovisual help or hinder?
In addition to the measures, something that can be a support tool to encourage victims of aggression is the audiovisual. Productions like the series Most beautiful thing and the long 365 DNI, both productions of Netflix has generated many debates. In the series, we see women living in a Brazil from the 60s, where women had a reality totally different from our reality, but not far away. The protagonists are strong and they develop throughout the plot. The character Lígia, interpreted by Fernanda Vasconcelos, has a tragic ending in the first season. She was killed by her husband who went on to attack her in various ways due to her jealousy and possessiveness. The fact is that the aggressor is not always a “monster” and often the victim may even love him and this makes the woman see herself in a conflict “the image of the aggressor x the attitude of the aggressor”. How can a neighbor who is seen by everyone as a nice, kind guy, rape a woman, a girl? This woman also sees in this man that demoralizes her, that she attacks her, but also that she is a great companion, that she helps, in short, it is important that the victims and society in general understand the contradictions present in the violence. We need to stop treating aggressors as “monsters” and evaluate the complexities they carry, because violence is structural, it is the responsibility of the man who attacks and the structural of society.
Other very important passages are the sexist speeches made by the mother of Lígia's husband. According to the PhD in Communication, specialist in Consumer Practices and professor at IBMR, Beatriz Beraldo, the macho culture is not exclusively male. The macho culture is perpetuated and disseminated by men, however, it also contaminates society as a whole, that is, it is difficult for a woman or a man to be immune to this behavior. Still according to Beraldo, audiovisual productions have been rethought and introducing women as protagonists, undoing the stereotype of a fragile girl, helpless maiden or even a ladder for male characters.
Even so, there are productions that belittle the fight against violence against women. The feature 365 DNI addresses the kidnapping of a woman who is forced to stay with her kidnapper for a period of one year. In the course of the plot, she "falls in love" with her kidnapper. What in the film is shown as love, however, is pointed out by experts as a clear picture of Stockholm Syndrome. This romanticized relationship added to the fact that the protagonist is a handsome man, nullifies all the problems of the film. It is not normal for a woman to be pushed, pulled by the arm, abused ... and this feature was seen only as a “fiction” by many internet users. The only debate promoted about this film, is the comparison between it and the franchise 50 shades of gray.
The damage caused by domestic violence
Unfortunately, we live in a sexist society and in very patriarchal ways and customs that blame the woman for the aggression. And besides marking the woman, the situation is worse when it involves children and adolescents. The child is not always able to report. How should we talk to her about this? Should we talk to them about it? Yes, we need to talk about violence, about the consequences of this on the lives of those who witness and suffer from it. Damage caused to minors is an issue that is little discussed and has great importance in this scenario. People who experience situations of violence, children who witness or are raped, have the possibility to relive situations of violence not only in the present, but in the future, they can develop traumas, psychological problems and many other behaviors resulting from these situations. The fact of naturalizing violence is very harmful, as the child or adolescent will have future relationships based on the violence suffered previously. That is why it is important that families, the school, the society itself, talk about this with children and adolescents so that the language is accessible and careful, in addition to being open. It is interesting to explain to the child that he cannot be touched in certain parts of the body, such as the genitals.
How can we solve?
Measures are not enough. Financial aid is good for those who are in this situation, but that is not all. The emotional is a decisive factor in this matter. It is already difficult to denounce without a health crisis in which we are living, imagine a pandemic where the victim and the aggressor are in constant contact, often without possibilities to help them denounce, or the contradictions they find themselves in. We need everyone's involvement. According to Beatriz Beraldo, it is important to denounce, it is important to show solidarity to the victim, it is important to see these agendas circulating and they need to be on the public, political and especially in the media, to actually promote some change in citizens and society because violence is structural and more than that, support is needed. Follow-up is required not only with the victim, but also with the aggressor. Often the aggressor is someone who has experienced aggression. In no way, this is to justify the aggression he commits. But it is important to understand the root of the problem and to deal with it in an assertive way, enabling the cracking of violence. Having medical support and social assistance can contribute to reducing cases of violence not only against women, but in other areas of society as a whole.
“Love can be many things. Love is life. Love is acceptance, acceptance. Love can also be forgiveness. But if there is one thing that love is not, it is violent. Love is not death. ” - Malu, Coisa Mais Linda