Study: In Brazil, 10 women killed daily in domestic violence
According to CNN every day, 10 women are killed in domestic violence cases in a country known for its glorious models. And it takes a high-profile incident - such as the case against a Brazilian goalkeeper who is the prime suspect in the disappearance and murder of a woman - to bring attention to the problem, said Women's Affairs Minister Nilcea Freire.
The government-sponsored study, called Map of Violence 2010, found that 41,532 women were murdered in Brazil between 1997 and 2007.
Last week, Brazilians were shocked by the details emerging from the case of Flamengo goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes Das Dores de Souza, who is accused of overseeing the kidnapping and dismembering of former lover Eliza Samudio, with whom he fathered a child.
Samudio's body remains missing a month after her disappearance. And Souza has refused to answer questions on his alleged involvement, police said.
"When cases emerge involving famous persons," Freire told the official Agencia Brasil, "that's when society becomes aware of what is not being printed... that women are violated, subjugated daily through inequality."
Freire said studies show that most women are victimized by men they knew well.
Samudio claimed recently, in a television interview in front of a police station, that Fernandes threatened to make her disappear - and refused her pleas to acknowledge the paternity of their son.
Like Samudio, who sought help from police several times before she was killed, Brazil's women's police stations - which handle gender-based cases - register an exorbitant number of complaints of threats that see no prosecution.
Freire said that a law allowing gender-based crimes against women to be judged in special courts should have been respected in the Samudio case.
Named after Maria da Penha, a woman who became a paraplegic after suffering numerous beatings at the hands of her husband, the law also allows for an aggressor to be arrested not only for the act of committing a crime, but preventitively.
Several other high-profile murders committed against women have gained national attention.
Attorney Mercia Nakashima's body was found floating in a man-made lake in Sao Paulo last month. The 28-year-old's boyfriend turned himself in and has been named a prime suspect.
Estado de Sao Paulo journalist Sandra Gomide was shot in the back and head in 2000. The main suspect, her former boyfriend, Antônio Marcos Pimenta Neves, was a former director for the newspaper. According to local reports, Neves served seven months in prison.