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Brazilian Women Are Tweeting Their Stories Of Harassment From Drivers

"After trapping me, he said that the fare would be free if I gave him a kiss and he grabbed my arm."

Posted on August 31, 2017, at 4:15 p.m. ET

After Brazilian writer and activist Clara Averbuck posted on Facebook that she had been raped by an Uber driver, other women in Brazil began telling their stories with the hashtag #MeuMotoristaAbusador, or "My Abusive Driver."

você tem uma história? #MeuMotoristaAbusador

“What happened is what happens to hundreds of thousands of Brazilian women,” Averbuck told The Guardian about her experience and the hashtag she launched. “This is a daily situation, it’s not just Uber.”

The outpouring of stories on Facebook and Twitter made Averbuck's point distressingly clear.

Peguei um táxi só. Sentei na frente. Qdo acabou a corrida, o motorista alisou minha perna. Nunca mais andei na frente. #MeuMotoristaAbusador

"I took a cab alone. I sat in the front seat. When the ride was over, the driver touched my leg. I no longer sit in the front."

Dozens of women came forward to talk about drivers taking advantage of the closeness of sharing a car to touch their passengers.

Fui deixada na Ramiro Barcelos de madrugada sozinha pelo taxista porque não deixei ele passar a mão na minha perna #MeuMotoristaAbusador

"I was left at dawn on Ramiro Barcelos [a major street in the city of Porto Alegre} alone because I wouldn't let the taxi driver put his hand on my leg."

Among the reports were cases where the driver locked the passenger in the car and made some kind of threat. In this case, the goal was the victim's telephone number.

Já peguei um táxi, ele parou antes da portaria e me obrigou a dar meu n° pra abrir a porta. Ficou me ligando sem parar #MeuMotoristaAbusador

"I was in a taxi, he stopped before the gate and forced me to give my number to open the door. He's been calling me nonstop."

There were cases where the driver used the app's rating system as blackmail.

amiga desinstalou Uber, solidariedade à @claraaverbuck cansada de assédio "os caras usam até chantagem com pontuação" #meumotoristaabusador

"My friend uninstalled Uber, in solidarity with @claraaverbuck is tired of harassment 'the guys use blackmail with ratings.'"

Achei que era só cmg essa chantagem de "vou te dar uma estrela se tu não me disser o que tu faz na puc" https://t.co/3HgHRqRK4v

"I thought that this blackmail tactic of 'I’ll give you one star if you don’t tell me what you study in college' was used only against me."

Other drivers had used the argument that the fare would be free if the victims just went along with the drivers' desires.

Depois de me cercar disse q a corrida ficaria de graça se eu desse um beijo nele e agarrou meu braço, gritei minha mãe #MeuMotoristaAbusador

"After trapping me, he said that the fare would be free if I gave him a kiss and he grabbed my arm, I screamed for my mother."

The stories show that the abuse can happen in any situation.

Indo pro velório da minha vó, com um bebê no colo, ele foi abrir a porta pra mim e passou a mão na minha coxa. #meumotoristaabusador

"Going to my grandmother's funeral, with a baby on my lap, he was opening the door for me and put his hand on my thigh."

Many women said they felt afraid to make a formal accusation because the drivers know the address where they live.

Eu recebi msg do motorista do app dizendo q era gostosa. Eu disse q iria denunciá-lo. Ele disse q sabia onde eu morava.#MeuMotoristaAbusador

"I received a message from the driver saying I was hot. I said I'd report it. He said he knew where I lived."

The reports also served as a reminder that the abuse isn't limited to Ubers and cab rides. It can also occur in other situations, like when hitching a ride.

Facebook: valeria.brandini

And can occur even at the hands of men who are close to the victims, like friends.

"amigo" me deu uma carona, aproveitou q dormi e levou pra casa dele e tentou me estuprar #MeuMotoristaAbusador

"My 'friend' gave me a ride, when I was asleep he took me to his house and tried to rape me."

Since 2009, Brazilian legislation has considered rape to be any act, such as undesired touching of private parts, that has occurred through violence or grave threat, even if penetration doesn't take place.

Em pleno 2017 e tem gente achando q homem pode enfiar a mão dentro d calcinha d mulher sem consentimento. Acorda. #MeuMotoristaAbusador

"We're in the middle of 2017 and there are people thinking a man can put his hand in a woman's panties without consent. Wake up."

In other words, in the law's eyes there is no longer any difference between rape and an indecent assault. Here are the current penalties for rape in Brazil:

— From 6 to 10 years' imprisonment, in nonqualifying cases.

— From 8 to 10 years' imprisonment, if the victim has suffered great bodily harm or if they are between 14 and 18 years of age.

— From 12 to 30 years, if the victim has been murdered.

See also:

This post was translated from Portuguese.

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