A Brazilian teenager who claims to have been gang raped in Rio de Janeiro has spoken up about the attack and the graphic video posted by her alleged assailants that went viral. In an interview with CNN affiliate TV Record, the 16-year-old girl shared her recollections of the attack, her feelings since, and her hopes for justice.
The alleged attack took place on May 21, later coming to light because of a 38-second video clip and images, showing the girl naked and unconscious while male voices are heard bragging about “at least 30” people having sex with her, that was shared to Twitter and WhatsApp. “Rape is not rare in Brazil,” women’s advocate Luise Bello said of her country’s sexist culture, “but what is really shocking is the fact that more than 30 men raped a minor, filmed it and then shared the images on the internet.”
Police investigating the allegations said on Monday they have no doubt the assault happened but that rape kit tests done five days after the incident fell well outside the recommended 72-hour window. The total number of perpetrators is not known but the presence of three men in the video is sufficient for the police to believe that gang rape occurred. “The footage shows more than one voice, there is an account of the rape performed earlier. One of the men touches the teenager, who looks unconscious. That act alone is rape and it is in the footage. If the footage is true, and it looks to be true, there is no doubt it was a rape,” Rio police chief Fernando Veloso said.
Two men have been arrested in connection with the crime — one who may been the girl’s boyfriend — and four others being sought by police remain at large. The male head of the investigation was removed for allegedly not taking the victim’s account seriously and was replaced by a female investigator.
The case has shocked Brazil, sparking protests in front of the Legislative Assembly, Supreme Court, and on Copacabana Beach.
In the interview that aired over the weekend, the girl said, “I fell asleep and woke up in a completely different place, with a man under me, one on top of me and two holding me down, on my hands. Many people laughing at me, and I was drugged, out of it. Many people with guns, boys laughing and talking.”
“If I have to wait for the justice system, they’ve already shown that nothing is going to happen,” she said. “I am waiting for the justice of God. That might be late but it never fails.”