Third rape victim in the Rio de Janeiro van says that she wanted ‘sleep and forget (about it)’
Note from BW of Brazil: In a story that’s been plastered all over the international news for the past few days, three Rio men were apprehended suspected of robbing and brutalizing a Frenchman while beating and raping his American girlfriend in a van. These types of vans are common alternatives throughout Brazil where official buses and subways can often become overcrowded and sometimes time-consuming as passengers often have to still catch another train or bus to reach their destination. Although this type of thing doesn’t often happen, it is unfortunate when it does. Yet another “black eye” in Brazil’s international image as the World Cup and Olympics countdown continues. (Video reports of the incident in English and Portuguese at end of article.)
One suspect held the woman while another man raped her. At least eight victims of thefts also recognized the suspects.
“The only thing I wanted was to shower, sleep and forget (about it).” With this sentence, the third rape victim in a van in Rio summarized the moments following the violence that she suffered. An 18-year-old resident of a municipality in the Baixada Fluminense region of Rio, kept her ordeal a secret for almost two months.
After recognizing one of the suspects of raping an American tourist on Saturday, March 30th, on the news, the student sought the Delegacia Especial de Apoio ao Turista (Deat or Police Special Tourist Assistance) on Tuesday. The victim recognized Jonathan Froudakis de Souza, 19, as the man who tried to rape her and held her while another man, who had yet to be found at the time, raped her. According to the victim’s description, he is white, is about 5’8” tall, with straight, black hair (1).
Jonathan, Wallace Aparecido Souza Silva, 21, and Carlos Armando Costa dos Santos, also 21, were arrested suspected of raping the American tourist, 21, and robbing and beating her boyfriend, a 23-year old French citizen. The couple spent about 6 hours under the captivity of the criminals. They were recognized by the victims and should be indicted for rape and robbery. The case shocked even experienced police officers.
The case of the foreign couple
The young Frenchman, 23, was handcuffed and beaten with a tire iron from the car, while, according to investigators, was forced by criminals to see the American girlfriend of 21 years, being beaten and raped repeatedly.
“They described in great detail the sexual violence, mainly. It was quite impressive how they described the fact in itself; the violence and brutality. Even we, who work in the area of security and are used to hearing (this), were surprised. There’s no way any person doesn’t to put themselves in the victim’s place, being the boyfriend watching the fact or the place of the victim being raped. Listening to their report was shocking,” said the assistant commissioner of Deat, Rodrigo Brant.
According to the delegate, their intention was to “satisfy” lust. Images from security cameras at the gas station helped identify the suspects.
According to police, when the man’s credit card maxed out, the trio threatened to kill him. At that moment, the girlfriend said that she had other cards at home, causing the criminals to return to Copacabana. She entered the apartment to get more credit cards, while her boyfriend was held hostage in the van. “She didn’t think of asking for help because she was in shock and feared for the life of her boyfriend,” said the police chief.
The student returned to the van, which went back to São Gonçalo. Only around 6 am, the trio released the couple on Itaboraí district near São Gonçalo, in the metropolitan area. The youth secured a ride from a van to ride back to Rio and then took a taxi to get home. “They did not seek the police immediately, they went home first. At this time, all that the women, the victim of sexual violence wanted was to take a bath,” said a police officer.
A day at the station
Accompanied by representatives of the consulate, the couple arrived at the police station just before 10am. From there, they only left after 11pm. According to police, the man cried a lot, while his girlfriend, in a state of shock, had no reactions and seemed “out of from reality.”
The student was taken by police to Miguel Couto Hospital in the Gávea region, also in the south zone, where she received medication to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. According to reports from investigators, the case also touched doctors responsible for the examination.
The couple recognized the first two suspects to be arrested. Jonathan, who confessed to the rape, was still wearing the same clothes from the night of the crime: an international t-shirt.
The young people were in Rio participating in an exchange program at a college in the South Zone.
1. Foreign students get in the van at midnight in Copacabana headed to Lapa
2. Other passengers leave the van while French man and American woman remain
3. Criminals drive from Ponte Rio-Niterói to São Gonçalo making withdrawals and purchases
4. Return to Copacabana for American to get another credit card
5. Return to São Gonçalo
6. Tourists abandoned in Itaboraí at around 6am
Police don’t know exactly when the rape occurred in the van
The young Brazilian woman said that on Wednesday, February 13, around 1 am, she boarded the van in the Lapa region of Rio headed to Copacabana in the south zone. She said the vehicle, driven by Jonathan, was full. However, in the Botafogo region, the passengers got off and she was then alone with just Jonathan and the fare collector, as yet unidentified, in the van. Scared, she asked to get out of the van, but was prevented by the duo.
“The fare collector approached me, tried to grab me (and) remove my clothes. The driver [Jonathan] just stared and cussed. Then the driver approached and tried too while the fair collector held me but he couldn’t because I kicked several times (and) spat at him,” said the student.
However, she said, after this reaction, the two exchanged position. “Jonathan held me while the fare collector violated me. As Jonathan was stronger, I didn’t have the strength to get out and the act of violence ended up happening. But it didn’t last long because the place was busy, cars passing by all the time and I think they were afraid,” she said.
The victim said he then got out of the van, crying, but was threatened by the pair to get back in the vehicle. “I got back in the van because I was scared and thought: What worst that could happen? And he left me in Copacabana and continued the trip as if nothing had happened.”
Silence, fear and shame
The victim did not record the occurrence to the police or tell her parents about the case. Only two friends knew what happened. “I didn’t seek police, a doctor, nothing, because I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed and afraid to seek my parents,” said the girl.
The silence was broken only when it came to light the attack on the foreign couple who boarded the same van in Copacabana. “I was angry when I saw it. As it happened to the tourist and I recognized them, I decided to report it. Because I think the more people take initiative will be better because he will go to jail for quite a while and get what he deserves,” said the victim, who also recognized the van used by the criminals. “I saw the van, the ripped bench seat. I sat on that seat.”
After spending the day at the police station giving testimony, the young woman expects to see her attackers arrested. “I just want justice to be done. That he [Jonathan] goes to jail and pay for everything he has done not only to me but with other people. And that they find the other [fare collector],” she said.
Police are trying to identify and arrest this other suspect. Another Brazilian, 21, also claimed to have been victim of a rape in the van on March 23rd. She recognized Jonathan and Wallace.
Jonathan’s mother, who declined to be identified, was at the police station on Tuesday. Crying uncontrollably, she said she could hardly believe what her son had done and apologized to victims.
“He did something wrong and will have to pay for what he did. It was a cruelty that has no explanation.” – Jonathan’s mother
“He made a mistake and will have to pay for what he did. It was a cruelty that has no explanation. For me, it’s very difficult. I only ask that they forgive my son,” said his mother, revealing that Jonathan has a 1 year 7 month old daughter and will soon become a father for the second time.
Also on Tuesday, two van drivers, who are part of the Castelo-Ilha do Governador van company, went to the police station to report that they were victims of an assault. One was attacked at Praça XV, in downtown Rio, and taken to the city of Niterói in the metropolitan region, where he was left by the criminals. The two recognized Jonathan and Wallace. Another six theft victims sought police with similar accounts.
The head of Deat, Alexandre Braga said, from the arrest of three suspects, he will investigate older robbery cases which may have been committed by the trio. According to Deat investigators at least 10 other cases reported to police in other police stations are being analyzed.
All these cases surfaced after the attack on the foreign couple last Saturday. According to police, the two boarded the van in Copacabana, in the south region of the city, going to Lapa, downtown, around midnight on Saturday.
Police chief is fired
After talking personally with the Brazilian that was raped on March 23th, the head of the Civil Police, Martha Rocha, decided to dismiss the police chief Marta Dominguez, head of Deam (Delegacia Especial de Atendimento à Mulher or Special Police Station for the Treatment of Women) in Niterói, “for understanding that the necessary measures of the investigation were not adopted.”
Also dismissed was the examiner Martha Pereira from the post of director of Posto Regional de Polícia Técnico Científica (PRPTC or Regional Post of Scientific Technical Police) of São Gonçalo, once the delay in the treatment of the victim was discovered at the Instituto Médico Legal (IML or Medical-Legal Institute) of the city.