Violence against women in Brazil is a social problem. The country is one of the top five in the world in feminicides. The work “Alone – stories of women suffering violence in the countryside” was born with the strong believe that we should report and investigate cases of women suffering domestic violence and physical and sexual abuse as a weapon to change this reality.
Between January and May of 2017, seven women were killed in the countryside of Santa Catarina, a state in the south of Brazil with economy based in agriculture. The fact caught our attention and revealed that there was no organized data on violence against rural workers in Brazil. We began to investigate the cases of murder and search for sources of information. Contacting unions of rural female workers we realized that the problem was bigger than we thought and at most of the time it remained invisible.
Despite their important role in workforce in the farms, women remain financially dependent on their husbands. Without money and living in isolated places, without neighbors and with communication difficulties most of them suffer alone and silently, without reporting domestic violence to the police. Our team went to field and talked with women who carried physical and psychological marks of abuse and humiliation. In addition to the work to search for real victims, the team surveyed at the National Department of Women’s Policies of the federal government data on the system of telephone assistance in case of violence. The analysis of the data allowed to affirm the percentage of the calls that came from the countryside in Santa Catarina.
Eraci, Lucimar, Tânia and Ade are the female rural workers that lend their testimonies to the multimedia report that organizes the information and data obtained during the research. In one of the most revolting stories, Ade told that was raped when she was 14, became pregnant and was forced to marry her abuser. Nowadays her arms are marked by scars from knife cuts and cigarette burns made by her husband. She is still afraid that he will kill her, as he continues to threaten her and her children.
Photos, audios and videos complement the online platform. The report was also printed on a special insert in the Diário Catarinense newspaper and presented on TV and on the radio. The content was released through social networks and for the main women and human rights groups in Brazil that helped to spread the news.
“Alone” had wide repercussion and won important journalism awards in Brazil. The Vladmir Herzog Prize for Human Rights was the most important in 2017, in the Multimedia category.
What makes this project innovative?
Producing a multimedia narrative that uses video, audio, text and photo language to better express the extent of women's suffering is also a innovation. "Alone" was also produced and displayed on television and radio, allowing an even greater reach than online audiences and the printed newspaper, the core of the Diário Catarinense.
What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?
Source and methodology
Another front of work was to get the true stories of women who were suffering with violence. This was possible thanks to the contact with the unions of rural workers and women's rights organizations. In addition, the team talked to dozens of women in the field until they gained their confidence and managed to bring these stories to the public.