Society

Brazil’s women police precincts have worked better for white women

Mechanisms put in place to curb gender-based violence in Brazil are overwhelmingly helping wealthier women, and not poor and black ones

women police precincts femicide
A woman registers a complaint at a São Paulo precinct specialized in gender-based violence. Photo: Fabio Braga/Folhapress

It is no secret that violence against women is deeply ingrained in the culture of Brazil — the country with the world’s fifth-most cases of femicides, according to the United Nations. Folk tales and children’s songs often depict violent acts against woman, such as the 1960s song “Maria Chiquinha,” which describes a man who, suspicious of his spouse going into the woods, threatens to cut off her head and “enjoy the rest” of her corpse.

Re-recorded by child pop duo Sandy & Júnior in the 1990s, the song would be played regularly at children’s parties throughout the...

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