Carnival is a time of fun and during the revelry there is a lot of flirting. However, what is not consented is considered a crime: the Law 13,718in force since 2018, criminalizes acts of sexual harassment and disclosure of scenes of rape, nudity, sex and pornography.
The penalty for both conducts is imprisonment from 1 to 5 years. Sexual harassment was defined in legal terms as the practice of a libidinous act against someone without their consent “with the aim of satisfying one’s own lust or that of a third party”.
Acts considered by many to be part of the party, such as running your hand over someone’s body or stealing a kiss, are now typified as a crime of sexual harassment. Forcible kissing or any other act carried out through violence or serious threat, preventing the victim from defending herself, according to the same law, constitutes the crime of rape. Kiss, therefore, only consented.
Psychiatrist Danielle Admoni, specialist for the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry, explains why, despite the law, it is so difficult for men to understand that “no is no”, especially for men.
“Often the ‘no’ is understood as: ‘she wants to, but she wants to play hard to get’, ‘she wants to, but she’s ashamed’, and that’s terrible because that person is saying no, and no is no. Even if she speaks politely, or smiles, it’s no. But the person on the other side does not have this understanding due to this sociocultural issue, that he is above.”
Pedagogue Claudia Petry, specialist in Clinical Sexology and Sexuality Education at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, agrees that, even with the law, the issue is cultural, but mainly of not knowing how to deal with frustrations.
“Our society, throughout our history, has been very permissive for men’s questions about women. Thus, we formed in the past, and also in the present, a society in which men think they have power – and ownership – and that they can have everything they want, not learning to deal with any frustrations and, above all, with women’s rights. or anyone else. Hearing a ‘no’ – and accepting it – is respecting the free will of the other and taking away from the abuser the ‘power’ to do what he wants”.
Psychologist Monica Machado, specialist in Psychoanalysis and Mental Health at the Teaching and Research Institute of Hospital Albert Einstein, warns that, in case of violence, abuse or harassment, it is necessary to seek psychological help.
“Be sure to talk to people close to you and seek professional help. Many women feel ashamed and prefer to remain silent. However, this wound can generate trauma and psychological disorders. Keeping it to yourself is feeding the continuity of the situation and not thinking that someone close could also be a victim one day ”, she reinforces.
Even with the typification of crime and government actions to welcome victims, some expert tips can help protect yourself during carnival:
Beware of drinking scams: don’t accept drinks from strangers and don’t leave your glass unattended on the table. These measures prevent abusers from using any type of substance that could leave the victim disoriented and thus facilitate the abuse.
Whistle: have a whistle and a black text marker in hand, to draw an “X” (distress symbol) in the palm of your hand and make it visible, if necessary. “These techniques have already helped many women to get rid of risky situations”, emphasizes psychologist Monica Machado.
Keep in touch with your group of friends: before going out, create a group with the friends who will be with you. If you get lost or need help, contact them through the group. It is also worth marking a reference point, preferably one that is moved. “Avoid being alone. Even in a crowd, you will be an easy target, especially for men under the influence of alcohol/drugs. When you feel persecuted or in a vulnerable situation, look for a nearby police officer or enter an establishment”, advises sexologist Claudia Petry.
Take care with your cell phone and belongings: in addition to taking care of your physical integrity, also take care of your belongings. Take as little as possible to the revelry. Keep your cell phone in a ‘dollar’, under your clothes, as well as a copy of your ID and money. Avoid paying for PIX and delete all bank apps. In addition to sexual violence, abusers can rob the victim as well.
Pay attention to public transport: on the way home, whether by subway or bus, try to sit close to the driver or other people, especially if it’s late at night. Avoid being isolated and sleeping on the bench. If you’re driving, make sure no one is around when you leave. Also avoid parking on deserted streets.
How to report
If you witness or are the victim of sexual harassment, complaints can be made to Call 180 – Women’s Service Center or by calling directly the Municipal Guard of your city or the Military Police, calling 190.