Note from BW of Brazil: With the most recent Military Police bloodbath that claimed the lives of still more young black males, we find yet another example of Brazil’s selection process in choosing who they should rally behind in calls for justice and those who they will ignore. In the past few years, Brazilians have been infamous for creating frivolous “justice”/hashtag campaigns when a person or group of people have been violated in some way. These “campaigns” usually have no real substance behind them and often times fizzle away very quickly. We saw this social media “activism” when famous people such as actress Taís Araújo, journalist Maria Júlia Coutinho and futebol player Daniel Alves were targets of racist actions. And there have been several others who were the inspiration of such faux concern.
But what happens when the person isn’t famous?
As we’ve seen, usually nothing. What happened in Rio last Saturday is a perfect example of this. Young black males are the primary targets of Military Police murders and it seems they are victimized every week, but from the society at large, there is barely a peep about it. It’s almost as people are thinking, “Oh well, more black guys got killed; no big deal, after all, we’re trying to whiten our population anyway.” Over-dramatization you say? Really? Question: If instead of young black males being assassinated by police, young white girls who look like actress Larrissa Manoela were being killed at such alarming rates, do you really believe the (lack of) reaction would be the same? Can we be honest about this? If you can’t, maybe you should see an experiment from a few months back that showed how people reacted to a lost girl when one is black and the other white.
For these reasons, we decided to re-visit a horrific story we featured here last April about black girls from a quilombo in the state of Goiás who were victims of child labor, slave work and sexual exploitation. Where are the calls for justice with this case? It was featured in an investigative report on Brazil’s second most popular TV network, Rede Record, back in June, so millions of people probably know about it. I guess we are not all equal after all!
For quilombola girls there was no hashtag
By Adenilton Cerqueira; photos courtesy of Rede Record TV
Unlike the commotion about Valentina of Masterchef Júnior, the case of the black girls abused in the interior of Goiás was soon forgotten
In April of this year, a denouncement of child labor and sexual exploitation of black children and young people in the Kalunga quilombo, in Cavalcante (state of Goiás – GO), a town in the Chapada dos Veadeiros, 310 km from Brasília (the nation’s capital) was reported.
Reports of abuses, investigated by the Civil Police were at the time transmitted to the Secretariat for Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality of the Presidency of Republic (today the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality and Human Rights) by the president of the Associação do Quilombo Kalunga (Association of Quilombo Kalunga) of Cavalcante (GO), Vilmar Souza Costa.
The subject came to light in a Record TV report and denounced the possible involvement of city councilors and former councilors in cases of sexual assault committed against black children and adolescents.
According to information from Record, the investigation of these complaints came in late 2014, from an appointment of the Public Ministry of Goiás and shows that Cavalcante records, on average, five similar investigations per year.
After the case of Valentina, a 12 year girl, a participant of the Masterchef Júnior program (reality show) (1), who was the victim of criminals comments by pedophiles on social networks, reminded me of the Kalunga girls case. How is it that this case going?
There was a great impact at the time of the complaint, but nothing like what happened to Valentina. With that, I’m not saying in any way that violence against Valentina should not be denounced and investigated, I am only voicing a discomfort for not seeing major feminist sites creating campaigns in support of the Kalunga girls or a greater commotion of the people.
The reality of these girls is quite different from that of Valentina. These are poor girls who from an early age have worked and been exploited in homes of families where they would work in exchange for food. In these places they suffered sexual abuse by employers. In the community where they live there are no schools and, because of living far away from their parents, they experience greater vulnerability.
Black girls, for suffering sexism and racism, are far more vulnerable to this kind of abuse. According to UNICEF data in the study Violência Sexual (sexual violence), the profile of sexually exploited women and girls points to the social exclusion of this group.
The majority is afrodescendente (African descendants), comes from the popular classes, has little education, live in peripheral urban areas or in low-income developing counties. Many of these teens have even suffered some kind of violence (intra-family or outside the family).
Also according to this research, in the Midwest, the state of Goiás is the one with the most serious situation – exactly where the Kalunga girls live.
Every campaign created in order to denounce this kind violence is valid and necessary, but it is urgent to think from an intersectional view in order to contemplate girls more vulnerability, especially black girls.
I researched the situation of these girls and found no information that spoke about the progress of the case. In their world, where hashtag campaigns don’t reach them, who won’t let them fall by the wayside?
Source: Revista Black Life Brasil, EBC
- As fate would have it, in the preparation of today’s post, we discovered that Valentina was eliminated from the Masterchef Júnior cooking reality on Monday, December 1st. MasterChef Junior is a Brazilian cooking competition television series that airs on the Rede Bandeirantes TV network. It premiered on Tuesday, October 20, 2015. It is based on the format of the U.K. series Junior MasterChef. Source
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