Wave of Street Crime Hits Rio de Janeiro

A wave of street crime has hit the city of Rio de Janeiro as Brazil prepares to host the World Cup, adding to concerns over the effectiveness of the government’s high-profile campaign to “pacify” tough neighborhoods.

Newly released statistics show that street muggings in the first quarter shot up 44%, to 10,154 from the same period a year earlier, according to the Institute of Public Security of the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio residents say they’ve noticed a dramatic increase in stickups, pick-pocketing and purse snatching in recent months.

More here.

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“I do not deserve to be raped”

In Brazil, where women in skimpy bikinis and carnival costumes are a common sight, one image of a half-naked female is drawing rare nationwide attention.

A widely distributed photo of a topless journalist with the words “I don’t deserve to be raped” painted on her body in Portuguese has polarized the country and underscored the contradiction between Brazil’s hyper-sexualized image and its lesser-known conservative underpinnings.

The journalist, 28-year-old Nana Queiroz, took the picture as part of a campaign to raise awareness over violence against women, which began after a government research agency said recently that 65% of respondents to a national survey agreed that women showing too much of their bodies deserve to be attacked.

On Friday, the Institute for Applied Economic Research said it was mistaken and that the true number was actually 26%.

Still, the picture, taken in front of the Congress building in the capital Brasília, has caused a sensation. The campaign’s Facebook page gained over 60,000 followers and Ms. Queiroz has become a national television sensation.

Read more here.