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Skyrocketing rape statistics reported in Brazil

By Robin Okuthe     Jan 22, 2013 in World
Rio De Janeiro - Brazil witnessed rise in rape cases by 157 percent between 2009 and 2012 with the state of Rio de Janeiro recording 16 sexual assaults each day last year, official data released Sunday shows.
According to Brazil’s health ministry, the rise is attributed to an amendment in the criminal code in 2009, which expanded the legal definition of rape as a result encouraging women to also report assaults committed by relatives or people close to them.
Before the amendment in 2009, the only act that was acceptable under the definition of rape was "tested vaginal penetration," while other crimes, including anal penetration, were considered "indecent assault," the O Globo newspaper said.
The amendment encouraged women to report attacks as they felt less guilty, says Aparecida Goncalves, the secretary of the state agency combating rape.
Goncalves further explained to O Globo newspaper that increased mobilization against rape via social media could also be attributed to the rise in reported cases.
Between January and June last year, nearly 5,300 people, 90 percent of who were women, were raped in Brazil, a country with a population of around 194 million people.
Crime rate in Brazil continues to rise and is widespread in major urban areas as a result of gang and drug-related activities, according to Travel Security Online’s report on Brazil released last year.
Crime rates are high particularly in Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro state) and São Paulo (São Paulo state), as well as in the north-eastern capitals of Salvador (Bahia state), Recife (Pernambuco state), Maceio (Alagoas state) and in the northern Belém (Pará state).
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