Brazilian Women Are Sharing Stories Of Sexual Harassment From Drivers On Twitter

"What happened is what happens to hundreds of thousands of Brazilian women."

When Brazilian writer and activist Clara Averbuck shared on Facebook earlier this week that she had been raped by a driver from a ride-sharing app, she began a national conversation about harassment from drivers as dozens of others began to share similar experiences.

To help spread awareness about the prevalent harassment, Buzzfeed News points out women began using the hashtag #MeuMotoristaAbusador, which translates to "My Abusive Driver" when sharing their own incidents of assault and unwelcome advances.

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In reflecting on her own recent experience, Averbuck concluded her Facebook post with a heartbreaking observation: "The world is a horrible place to be a woman." In a subsequent interview with The Guardian about her ordeal, she expanded on that idea explaining, "What happened is what happens to hundreds of thousands of Brazilian women. This is a daily situation, it's not just Uber."

The tweets and Facebook posts from others, a few of which we've included below, certainly drove that point home.

This woman says her driver sang to her and said he was going to fall in love with her. She recalls being stuck in the car with him in a panic.

According to this woman, her driver told her she was beautiful and said she must make all of the boys crazy before asking if she disliked older men.

And though the #MeuMotoristaAbusador hashtag included many ride-sharing-related accounts of harassment and abuse, women also used it to speak out against assault by acquaintances. As this woman shared, she was nearly raped after a "friend" drove her to his house and attempted to assault her while she slept.

Though Buzzfeed reports Brazil's laws now see no difference between rape and indecent assault (and the penalties for rape are some of the strongest in the world) sexual harassment and assault is still rampant in the South American country. Per a 2013 report from the Institute for Applied Economic Research, a woman is raped in Brazil every 11 minutes, making Averbuck's decision to speak out 

Sadly, Brazil is hardly alone. Sexual assault is a worldwide issue that needs to be better addressed, especially with regards to transportation. In an effort to curb sexual assault on public transportation in Mexico City for example, earlier this year the U.N. installed anatomically correct seats that feature the imprint of a male torso, complete with protruding plastic genitalia. The special seats come complete with a plaque indicating they are for men only.  

Cover image via Shutterstock / Alf Ribeiro.

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