University of São Paulo: Political gender violence is “a violence that seeks to silence”

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In the 2020 elections, three out of ten candidates were discriminated against for being women. The data is from the Gender Equity in Politics survey , developed by DataSenado in partnership with the Observatório da Mulher Contra Violência. In an attempt to change this reality, in August 2021, Law No. 14,192 was enacted, to combat political violence against women. In this week ‘s episode of the series Women and Justice , Professor Fabiana Severi talks to Ladyane Souza, a lawyer, consultant and researcher. Master in Human Rights from the University of Brasília, under the theme Violence and Gender Policy , Ladyane is currently a researcher at the Colombian NGO Dejusticiaand shares in this episode his expectations in the application of the law to combat political gender violence.

The researcher says that the legislation passed last year is the result of many mandates; since 2013 there has been a debate to try to pass legislation that talks about political violence against women, but in 2018 the debate was intensified with the murder of councilor Marielle Franco, and finally in 2021, after the presentation of new projects, the law was sanctioned.

The advance of this legislation is in naming a problem that not only parliamentarians, but also women voters and popular leaders, have suffered for a long time, “a violence that seeks to silence, that seeks to influence the political process”, says Ladyane. By naming this violence, the researcher believes that the problem becomes collective and gives the possibility to demand a constitutional response, in addition to creating effective protection mechanisms, “such as the Public Ministry’s own channel for complaints”.

Expectations with the application of the new law
Ladyane hopes that, with the application of the new law, misogynistic, racist and LGBTphobic content will be banned, in addition to the fight against fake news based on gender stereotypes, so that there will be “electoral processes free of hate speech”. But the researcher comments that, unfortunately, women and current candidates still suffer from several attacks, especially on social networks.

The researcher calls attention to the importance of Brazilian women’s intersectionalities in confronting political gender violence. “When a candidate is a woman and she is poor, she is a woman and she is black and she is a woman and she is a lesbian, all these markers are used and instrumentalized to commit even greater violence against her”, says the lawyer.

During her master’s research, Ladyane studied political violence against women from a territorial perspective. When interviewing federal deputies in Brazil, she realized the importance of the territory for these women, whether in the fight for political education, in the defense of their community or in the dispute to make political campaigns. “Some candidates are prevented from entering their territory, from going up the hill”, says the lawyer.

In Brazil, territorial struggles are inseparable from politics, “where we go, our community comes too. Territorial violence, in addition to all others, is to suffer violence that has to do with your space, where you transit or defend”, says the researcher. This problem is even more evident in the defense of indigenous lands, where, in order to reach a territory, political and gender violence is practiced.

In this scenario, Ladyane brought the concept of body territory , developed by other researchers, to understand how women’s bodies are the target of domination. “Whether it is an indigenous land or an urban city, women cannot return, because they face threats linked to the control of their territory, whether from parliamentarians, large landowners or drug trafficking.”

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