“Our Silence Perpetuates Child Sexual Violence” – Gama Revista

If you are a parent or guardian of a child or teen, ask yourself: If this minor was a victim of sexual violence, would you report what happened? Many do not see the under-reporting of these cases. “I don’t harden parents or caregivers who don’t want the incident recorded. It’s really complicated,” says Liberta Institute director and attorney Luciana Tamer. But what we’re trying to do is change society’s relationship with this violence, or it will remain silent.

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In an interview with gamma, tells of efforts to create a virtual march, which will take place on May 18 – the date that marks the National Day to Combat Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents – and which seeks to highlight the cause. “The main goal is to break the embarrassment and then ask candidates from different positions about their concrete projects to counter this violence.” The Agora Você Sabe initiative will collect video reports from people over 18 who were victims as children. The recordings always have the same words: “You were a victim and now you know it,” and will be played simultaneously on the site’s home screen. “We lobbied for a public education policy.”

Victim of sexual violence against children, which she has talked about in magazines and newspapers, lawyer says it wasn’t her experience that drove her to fight for the cause – perhaps the frightening numbers that show more than 60% of all were rapes in Brazil in 2020 and 2021 against children and adolescents. In the chat, Tamer comments on the concealment of the agenda and his struggle to confront the guilt and shame that prevents condemnation. He invites the public to speak frankly about it, and not tolerate any kind of abuse: “Or we become a permissive society of sexual violence,” she says in the interview she read below.

  • G |When and why did you start delving into the topic of child and adolescent abuse?

    Luciana Tamer |

    I was in Mayor Fernando Haddad’s department as a social aid secretary, and I was called by Eli Horn [patrocinador do Instituto Liberta], a large businessman and philanthropist, to share some data about the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents. In the end he said he wanted me to work with him to set up an institute and confront this violence. My term in the Secretariat was ending, and I was very interested in continuing in the social field. But my rape had nothing to do with that. Even because, today, only after five years at the Liberta Institute, I can look back and understand the weight of this history. Only today I am embarrassed that I did not report it, until after I plunged myself into this issue. At that time, with so many serious social ills, from the point of view of social structuring, I wondered why [Eli Horn] He wanted to talk about it. I thought sexual violence against children was a residual problem, that is, if we solve other problems, we will naturally solve this problem. But after a lot of studying and diving into this field, I realized it was a structural issue, because many of the social ills we have today have their origins in sexual abuse. It is devastating violence to people, especially in the case of children and adolescents. Even I, who was in the vulnerability zone, didn’t know how serious this problem was. I didn’t know what I was doing until I actually got into it.

  • G |What are the numbers of sexual violence against children today?

    LT |

    When we think of sexual violence, who is the victim? woman. This answer is wrong. We have data from the Brazilian Public Security Forum showing that 60.6% of all rape cases recorded in 2020 and 2021 were against girls under the age of 13. The country has more than 21,600 girls under the age of 14 who get pregnant every year. This is exactly what was recorded. Seeing this data, we think we should be talking about this all the time, and we’re not. Here I refer to the issue of combating violence against women. When the Maria da Penha law did not exist, there was no specific offense of domestic violence. It was treated as bodily harm. We did not take a specific look at it, nor the general policies put in place to counter this violence. With the feminist movement, there is not only the confrontation of violence, but also the empowerment of women. Today we have very strong women who talk about the violence that they suffer and that they have suffered, and this for them is not disturbing, because they are supported by society in general, which says that it should be condemned. We suggest that society also turns to sexual violence against children and adolescents. The Brazilian Public Security Forum estimates that about 35% of all rape cases are recorded, and certainly sexual violence against children and adolescents is reported much less than it is against adults, because 67% occurs inside the home and 86% is committed by close people, usually in Relationships within the family.

  • G |Why did society make this topic invisible? Why is it so difficult to speak for itself with the incredible number of victims?

    LT |

    People often confuse sexual violence with sex, but one has nothing to do with the other. Sexual violence is violence. And this combination of sexual and gender violence makes this a taboo topic, which is hard to talk about. There is also the fact that no one provoked this matter. Issues come to the fore as they arise. So, for example, violence against women – provoked by feminist movements. Racism entered society’s agenda by provoking black movements. Guidelines do not enter society spontaneously, they must be provoked. Who is provoking sexual violence against children and adolescents? The truth is that no one has isolated this issue, we have always made crosses in sexual violence and other topics, such as sex, depression and racism. No one has isolated this issue socially with the force to be isolated. We are now trying to do this provocation, so that sexual violence against children and adolescents gets on the agenda, which is the prerequisite for confrontation.

  • G |How do we recognize the child victim signs?

    Luciana Tamer |

    We’ve argued, here at Liberta, that the best way to get to know her is to talk about her. At home, at school, anywhere. Because then the adult does not need to guess when the child is a victim. When we talk about an infant or child who does not speak, that is another story. But when your little one or teen is talking, you don’t need to guess, you just need to create spaces of understanding and trust. When creating this space, both at home and at school, the child must first understand, through playful questions containing a lot of excellent material, what violence is and how to recognize it; And then, she must have confirmation that she will be believed, and that she can talk about it. It is necessary to bring up this discussion in schools, since 67% of reported cases occur at home and 87% by people close to them. When you talk about this in schools, you allow the child to identify this violence inside and outside the home.

  • G |What is the way to face this reality?

    LT |

    We are certain that any construction of a public policy of confrontation is based on social malaise. What feminist social movements have been able to do is generate embarrassment in society, so today, even those who think that women like to be slapped no longer have the courage to speak up, because there is social embarrassment out there. You are responsible for this. What we seek to do is exactly what was done with violence against women at the time: remove this violence from the background in order to generate social discomfort, and provoke public policies of confrontation. When you talk about dealing with sexual violence, we hear those lines like: higher punishment, chemical castration, and the death penalty. And no, none of that, because the feathers are already there and it’s really quite high. What we believe in is education policy, ie talking about sexual violence and healthy sex in schools. And we don’t make anything, this is a behavior that has been in the UK for many years, and it has had very positive results. It is a policy that public and private schools have to discuss this issue in some way. It’s not a specific topic, but the topic should permeate the entire school age of children and teens. And that’s what we want to do here.

  • G |How does child sexual abuse enter the debate?

    LT |

    We are talking about stereotypes. So sexual violence? We think of women. rape? breakthrough. Child molester? crazy. Children perverted into the popular imagination as an indecent and brutal person. But when you find out that most child abusers aren’t these inappropriate or unbalanced people, and are in fact dear uncle, grandfather, father, school teacher, priest, and pastor, you realize that this puts the lens in the wrong place. . Child sexual abuse is not a crime, it is a mental disorder. We have studies that show that less than 25% of crimes against young children are committed by persons with child sexual abuse. So no, we’re not talking about people with a mental disorder, we’re talking about people who abuse people because no one is speaking out or denouncing it. The abuser of young children is usually someone who takes advantage of ignorance and goes through the process of seduction. Often the child spends a lot of time not knowing that it is violence. When you discover that it is terrible, devastating, from a psychological point of view, because the feeling that an adult who was raped as a child is that he consented to him at the time, as if he were an accomplice.

  • G |How do we define sexual violence? Are there different levels and types?

    Luciana Tamer |

    When we think of rape, we think of a successful person, penetration and touch. And this is logical, because until a few years ago rape was just that, to the point that it is not possible to rape men, only women, because the penis and vagina are presumed in the Penal Code. But there was a change. Today, rape is any non-consensual sexual act. The law states that anyone under the age of 14 who has any sexual relationship with an adult is considered rape, because consent is assumed to be impossible. But sexual violence is broader in scope. In sexual harassment, for example, you don’t need any touch. In my case, when I was walking home alone from school, and there was a guy on the street masturbating, this is sexual violence under the penal code. I was scared and upset. But what people say in this kind of situation is, “I’m glad nothing happened.” And it becomes a joke, it becomes a perverted school. We also have sexual exploitation, where you are rewarded for a sexual act as a child, which is very common.

  • G |Why even after so long is it important to admit that you were a victim?

    LT |

    When I started with the institute and the walk, my mother would say ‘Wow, what an important thing and things’. She began reading about what counts as sexual violence, and realized, at age 83, that she was already a victim. She told me that at the age of 14 she went to the dentist and he wouldn’t stop rubbing her leg. He said he was very uncomfortable, that he made an excuse for her mother and never wanted to go back to the office. This is sexual violence. Acknowledging violence is a process. You don’t have to shock a person to be sexual violence. Just because you weren’t shocked doesn’t mean this isn’t sexual violence. We are talking about zero tolerance for violence. We must think about what sexual violence is, however, about the tolerance that society enjoys. In the Now You Know March, no one wants to know what happened to you, we just want you to have the strength to join a march that will bring visibility to this violence in huge numbers – even if it’s invisible. What we are trying to do is change society’s relationship with this violence, or it will remain silent. The problem with not recognizing is that we have become a permissive society for sexual violence. A girl with a mental illness will seek psychological help to deal with the fact that she is a victim. Now, the girl from the parties has nothing to do, she will not have a family or financial structure to host her. What I mean is: If it’s not for you, do it for everyone.

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