BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Brazil, where a woman is killed every two hours, is imposing tougher punishments on those who murder women and girls, as part of a government bid to stem a rise in gender killings.
President Dilma Rousseff said the new law gave a legal definition to the crime of femicide – the killing of a woman by a man because of her gender – and set out jail sentences of 12 to 30 years for convicted offenders.
The law, signed by Rousseff on Monday, also includes longer jail terms for crimes committed against pregnant women, girls under 14, women over 60 and people with disabilities.
Brazil joins 15 other Latin American countries which have brought in laws against femicide in recent years.
“This law typifies femicide as a grave crime and identifies it as a specific crime against women. It’s a way to talk about this problem, make it visible by giving it a name and increasing sanctions for this crime,” said Nadine Gasman, head of the agency United Nations Women in Brazil.
“It has taken us a long time to say that the killing of a woman is a different phenomenon. Men are killed in the street, women are killed in the home. Men are killed with guns, women with knives and hands,” Gasman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview.
The number of women murdered in Brazil rose by 230 percent from 1980 to 2010, government figures show.