​​It was a March night like any other, when the women’s revolution began.
The hot wind dragged red sand between the barracks of Favela Jardim Columbia in the state of São Paulo, in the twilight the men began to drink, and some time later the women were heard screaming. Night after night the men beat their wives. It was part of the daily life in the favela like soccer or grilled meat. Antonio, the roofer, also turned his attention to his wife Pa- tricia. She always had blue spots, even a broken jaw. That’s why her neighbor, Doña Carmen, called the police several times. They never came. That night, Doña Carmen could no longer stand the cries of Patricia. She alarmed two other women and assaulted the hut together. Antonio was pushing Patricia’s face on a hot plate, she was eight months pregnant. The three wo- men attacked Antonio, beat him with a club and took Patricia to the hospital. Then, they collected money from neighbors, with which Patricia bought a bus ticket back to northeastern Brazil. It was the first time that women acted together. Doña Carmen understood that night that this could be the solution.
It was 2013. Now, years later, she is the mayor of her own favela called Menino Chorão right next to Jardim Columbia. The local anti-drug police realized that the threats no longer impressed her, that Dona Carmen took her demand for non-vio- lence seriously and that many other women were behind her. 210 women currently form a kind of community security and surveillance group in order to protect women from gender violence in the favela. A feminist favela where the laws belong to women.
What happened thanks to the women of Menino Chorão is something that neither the law nor the police have applied be- fore: women live safely. It is the first favela in Brazil to successfully fight against domestic violence. According to the World Health Organization, one out of every two women in Brazil is a victim of domestic violence. The rate is particularly high in the slums, the favelas. There are statistics that say that a woman is being beaten or mistreated every six seconds.
In Brazil, the perpetrators generally remain unharmed, although it is punishable by the “María da Penha” Law that targets gender based violence in Brazil, with the specific aim of reducing domestic violence in the country. Sanctioned on August 7, 2006 by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, which is named as an homage to the Brazilian activist Maria da Penha Maia, a biopharmacist former victim of domestic violence who was shot by her husband.
Since then, there are police units and their own courts that deal with domestic violence. However, the special unit does not even intervene, certainly not in Favelas such as Jardim Columbia, where rabid drug traffickers rule.
Menino Chorão is the poorest settlement on the edge of the prosperous industrial city of Campinas, about one hundred miles north of São Paulo. Just a few hundred meters away, planes take off every minute of a better life than what people have here. Campinas is known as the Brazilian Silicon Valley because of its high-tech industry, the numerous companies and the famous University.

“I’m not afraid.
I experienced everything you can experience. No one can intimidate me”.
D.C.



'VIVAS, LIBRES Y ORGANIZADAS' is part of the long term project on gender violence and women movements fight for rights 'Ni Una Menos'


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Vivas, Libres y Organizadas

The Brazilian Matriarchal Favela

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