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  • Writer's pictureAna Clara Alvez

Under The Rug: The Violence Powerful Women Face

Everyone knows, in theory, how difficult it is to be a woman⏤especially a leading woman. However, not everyone understands the arbitrary basis for our discrimination, sexualization, and abasement. This whole issue comes from a long structural history, full of disrespect stemming from an oppressive society against women.

Nevertheless, women in power fear the patriarchy more and more nowadays. Before, oppressors were not used to being confronted by women and girls⏤they were used to controlling them. Now, we can name many women who suffered or suffer radical threats just for being in a high position, such as Marielle Franco.

Marielle Francisco da Silva was born on July 27th, 1979 in the Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro. She was a sociologist with a master’s degree in Public Administration, with an important political role: As a black woman and shantytown resident⏤i.e. an inhabitant of the poorest parts of Rio⏤Marielle fought for human rights by leading feminist, pro-black, community movements.

She began her political career in 2006 as a parliamentary advisor, where she took the coordinates of some commissions in the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro in 2006. Later, she decided to run for her first office in 2016. With more than 46 000 supporting votes⏤making her the second most popular candidate in the whole country⏤Marielle was appointed councilwoman. In her new position of power, she was critical of the federal intervention opposing Rio De Janeiro’s autonomy and denounced the frequent police abuses and human rights violence she observed, particularly against residents of poor communities.

As councilwoman, Franco also presided over the women's defence commission and worked hard against violence against women and to promote female political participation. All of her administration's purposes were to support female rights, the LQBTQ+, and the black people around the city. Despite her hard work, in August 2017, the government denied her administration’s Bill to include Lesbian Visibility Day in the city's calendar.

Unfortunately, on March 14, 2018, Marielle was murdered. We’ll never know what else she might have accomplished, how far she might have gone. Thirteen bullets were shot at a vehicle while she and her driver were inside. They both died. It was a premeditated murder that revolted and shocked people on a global scale. And even after 2 years, Marielle's family, community, and political partners are still pressing the police and demanding an exact answer. Now the question is: How are we still letting this happen? And not just for Marielle, but for women all over the world.

This crime against Marielle Franco is, clearly, a severe case of political violence. A strong woman who comes to power to conquer and demand equality and justice does not shut up too soon in the face of social absurdities, so instead, she is, forcibly, silenced. The disreputable patriarchy doesn't know how to deal with minorities that have a voice, so they kill them. Women are under attack and it’s unacceptable that this violence continues.

To avoid more women in power being silenced and endangered, we must create awareness and take action instantly. This is the fight for our lives, girls.

“Resistance roses are born on asphalt. We receive roses, but we are going to be clenching a fist talking about our existence against the orders and excesses that affect our lives.” - Marielle Franco

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