Brazil: Maria da Penha law also applies to trans women

Maria da Penha law

Domestic Violence: Silence is consent. Image: blog Juridicando

The 9th Criminal Chamber of the São Paulo Court of Justice (TJ-SP) decided today (October 19th) that the measures provided in the Maria da Penha Law be applied in favor of a transsexual woman threatened by her former partner. According to the decision, the man can not approach or contact the victim, her relatives or witnesses.

According to the court, the victim reported that she maintained a loving relationship for about a year with the man. After the end of the relationship, he started offending and threatening her. The woman then filed a police report and asked for protection measures.

The request was denied by the first instance judge, under the justification that the victim was biologically male, out of the Maria da Penha Law playing field.

In the second instance the federal judge Ely Amioka, rapporteur of the case, held that the law should be interpreted broadly without hurting the principle of human dignity.

“The term ‘woman’, contained in the law in question, refers both to female sex and female gender. The first relates to the biological characteristics of human beings, in which the petitioner does not fall, while the second refers to the social construction of each individual, and here the petitioner may be considered a woman, “said the judge.

“Therefore, it is in womanhood, as ex-girlfriend, that the petitioner is being threatened by an unhappy man due to the ending of the relationship. She suffered domestic violence, committed by the boyfriend, so that the application of the rules of the Maria da Penha Law are necessary in the case in question, since her vulnerable condition in the loving relationship was proved, “she added.

The decision was taken by majority vote.

The Maria da Penha Law, the popular denomination of Law number 11,340 is a Brazilian legal provision aimed at increasing the severity of punishments for domestic crimes. It is usually applied to men who attack physically or psychologically a woman or wife, which is the most frequent.

Enacted by Congress and signed into law by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on August 7th, 2006, the law came into force on September 22, 2006, and the very next day the first offender was arrested in Rio de Janeiro after trying to strangle his ex-wife.

The case No. 12,051 / OEA, in the name of Maria da Penha Maia Fernandes, was the homage case to the law 11.340. She was a victim of domestic violence for 23 years of marriage. In 1983, her husband twice attempted to murder her. The first time, with a firearm, leaving her paraplegic, and second, by electrocution and drowning. After this last attempted murder, she took courage and denounced him. The husband of Maria da Penha was only punished after 19 years of trials and was sentenced only to two years in prison.

Source: Huffpost Brasiljuridicando blog.

Be sure to check out Eduarda Alice Santos at Transfofa em Blog for more worldly reporting.

Eduarda Alice Santos

Trans woman, activist, writer and translator from Portugal (that's in Europe)

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