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  • Writer's pictureU.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil


On the 3rd of November, while the U.S focused on its elections, Brazil was taken aback by the judicial decision to absolve André Camargo de Aranha of rape charges against Mariana Ferrer. The decision, related to an incident in a nightclub in 2018, argued that Aranha was unaware that Ferrer was not in a condition to consent, and therefore there was no intention to rape. Given that "unintentional rape" is not a crime under the Brazilian penal code, Aranha was absolved without any consequences. The USNDB stands in solidarity and support with Mariana Ferrer and repudiates the use of the term "unintentional rape", which sets a dangerous precedent for the impunity of rapists and breaches on women's rights. We recognize that the case is a representation of the unequal class, race, and gender dynamics that permeate the Brazilian justice system. Furthermore, we are shocked by the Judicial system’s inability to condemn a white, rich male for a rape allegation that is substantiated by video footage, genetic material from both parties, gynaecological evidence from the victim, compromising text messages and witness testimonies. The release of live footage from the trial by The Intercept of Aranha's defense lawyer intimidating and humiliating Ferrer is a worrying depiction of how structural sexism serves to deny women their rights. The lawyer, Cláudio Gastão da Rosa Filho, who previously defended figures such as Olavo de Carvalho, has utilized pictures of Ferrer from her years as a professional model to delegitimize her image and defame her. His defense was largely based on questioning her image and he utilized stereotypes to belittle Ferrer's character while portraying Aranha as a well-respected, well-connected businessman. Also shocking was the judge’s passivity and unwillingness to intervene in a rape trial that humiliated the victim more than the defendant.  As an organization that defends human and women’s rights in Brazil, the USNDB emphasizes the potential future threats posed by this case. The legal precedent here found could be utilized to continually dismiss victims’ position and defense in cases of violence and rape against women. This is a serious precedent that could significantly limit the safety of Brazilian women in the future. The USNDB reaffirms that UNINTENTIONAL RAPE DOES NOT EXIST and urges Brazilian authorities to intervene in order to grant Mariana Ferrer legitimate opportunity for justice.

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