Brazil jails man for alleged attack widely aired on TV
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A man surrendered to police Wednesday after Brazilian television broadcast a security video that allegedly shows him brutally beating a woman at a bar.
Police in Sao Paulo state said 24-year-old Kelvin Luiz Assis Soares turned himself in several days after the attack. In the video, he appears to punch his 18-year-old girlfriend, Judy Souza, several times and repeatedly bang his knees into her face.
It is the latest case of domestic abuse in a country where violence against women is prevalent and where similar disturbing cases are reported every day or so in the news. Last month, Brazilians were angered when a 30-year-old woman was stabbed to death by a former lover inside a church and when a 34-year-old woman was gang raped by drug dealers.
The man who surrendered Wednesday had been accused of violent crimes in the past but was never formally charged, authorities said.
The victim told The Associated Press that after the Oct. 25 attack she broke up with Soares, filed a police report and left the town of Alvaro de Carvalho in fear after receiving threatening calls from him. They have a 3-year-old daughter together.
"He was mad that I wanted him to go to jail when he loved me," Souza said.
She said Soares had often pushed or slapped her, but the incident at the bar was the first time she was beaten so violently. "He was accusing me of flirting with other men. He got jealous."
Earlier this week, police inspector Darlene Rocha Costa said she would recommend that prosecutors file assault and battery charges against Soares.
A study commissioned by the federal government last year found that 147,691 women in Brazil had to seek medical help for domestic or sexual violence in 2014.
Luciana Andrade, a researcher in women's studies at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, said that these cases are gaining more and more visibility, but that authorities must do better in enforcing laws against such abuse.
"What needs to be done immediately is to train officers, prosecutors and judges to better respond and punish cases of domestic violence," Andrade said.
Last year, Congress passed legislation to sharply increase the punishment for violent crimes against women.