It is well-known that Brazil is governed by its first female president. President Dilma Rouisseff, in power since 2010, created a federal government with various female ministers. But it isn’t only the federal government which is dominated by women. Many other important and high-level public positions are taken by women. Whether it is in the justice as judges, in the police as commissioners and detective-inspectors, or in health care as doctors and in education as professors and teachers, it is the Brazilian women who rule Brazilian life.
And the future is even brighter. The female student dominates the universities, colleges and high-schools. In general she shows better results than her male counterpart. Where the boys quit school, the girls continue their educational career.
And is Brazil now becoming a better world, which always has been promised us if and when women should take the power of command?
Well not so fast. With the female dominating the upper-world, we see an identical situation in the underworld. Women’s struggle for gender equality, for better conditions of life and work hasn’t only taken positions that were once viewed as exclusive male in the ‘normal’ world, but their participation in criminal activities also grew. In addition to commanding many drug trafficking gangs, others are already on the front line of armed robbery, and other criminal actions, generally devised by men but with agility and cunning shared by the female criminal.
In recent months in various districts of Metropolitan Belém, the presence of young females in robberies has been recorded. Accompanied by male cronies, they act similarly: with authority and petulance on the victims.
Just a few examples:
On November 30, police officer Edson Gonçalves Viana, 44, on his way to a diner appointment, was attacked by two men and a woman, in the neighborhood of Marco. The three robbers broke into the vehicle of the police officer, who tried to run and was hit in the back by a bullet. The criminals took the gun from the victim and fled. Edson Viana was taken to hospital but died.
Bianca Lobato da Silva, 18, was arrested on November 17 this year after taking part in a crime against a family on its way to Amazon Portal, in Estrada Nova. That day, she left her three year old daughter at home with her mother, and went with two friends on a robbery tour. The gang of three – one of them armed – rushed in front of the vehicle and collected all objects of value from the victims. A plainclothes policeman saw everything and ran after the trio, but only Bianca was caught.
In a similar situation, a teenager of 17 years was seized on Nov. 22. She, along with two boys “cleaned out” a city bus in the neighbourhood Canudos in Belém The three collected objects of value from the passengers. When they exited the bus, policemen in a patrol car noticed that the three just had carried out an assault. The trio was chased and the teenager was the first to be captured. Her male cronies, found themselves surrounded, and decided to make a hostage. After 30 minutes of negotiations they decided to surrender.
Alleged female fragility functions as bait for victims
The presumed female fragility is a crucial weapon to lure the victim, says the director of the Pedreira police station, Pery Nunes Netto. According to him, girls, generally, are used to approximate the victims, who do not distrust them or see them as involved in robberies. The police officer also states that since he took command of this police unit he saw a strong increase in participation of women in crimes.
‘It is not of today that we realize that women have an important role in the negative scenario of crime. Most of them are still related to the commission of drug trafficking, where she assumes the role of chief, while her companion is in jail. But more recently and already becoming common is the participation of women, mostly teenagers, in the execution of robberies and armed assaults”, explains Pery Netto.
The constant assaults occurring in various neighbourhoods of Belém manifest the participation of girls. The police officer confirms that they are involved in 90% of these crimes.
Pery Netto explains that they act in several ways. A young girl identified as ‘Xuxu’, for example, stands in front of the car, as if asking for help, and when the driver slows his vehicle, her companions come into action and render the victim.
Another example given by the police officer is of a girl known as ‘Thalia’, who operates at the forefront of the assaults. ‘She looks like a boy, she sets up and approaches the victim with violence. And her male cronies lose at the moment the captured booty is divided. Some days ago I caught one of her companions, who complained about her. The booty doesn’t seem to be distributed properly”.
Law Professor at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Luanna Tomaz, who does research related to violence involving women, highlights that their profile in the dynamics of crime is different from the profile of men. According to studies, 80% of women are arrested for involvement in drug trafficking. According to her, this reality is not only in Brazil but in Latin America as a whole.
“Sexual exploitation eventually leads these girls to the world of crime, where they relate to people who are already within that realm and they end up by obtaining some space. Consequently many of them get involved in gangs and obtain the potency of leadership”.
And so we forego “a better world”, as was promised us in case women took the driver seat.