The Creation of the Crime of Feminicide in Brazil and the Dispute of Meanings Around Gender and Criminal Punishment

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:21
Oral Presentation
Mariana POSSAS, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil
In March 2015, Brazil passed a new Statute, which established a new legal category: feminicide, understood as the homicide committed against a woman "motivated by the condition of the female sex". Feminicide got inserted into the Criminal Code as one of the modalities of first-degree homicide (implying, thus, an increased penalty as compared to the one for regular homicide) and it was also incorporated into the list of heinous crimes. This paper analyses the process of creation of the feminicide law in Brazil in its cognitive aspects, i.e. in the field of ideas and knowledge, which are gathered, mobilized, and translated in different forms within the realm of law creation. The research aimed to understand how some specific ideas concerning the problem to be faced [violence against women, more specifically the murder of women presented as feminicide] and the postulated solution [the creation of a new crime category and, thus, of a new corresponding criminal punishment] have penetrated into the realm of law and got translated and incorporated during the process of creation of the feminicide law. How does the production of meaning for the categories in the legal text take place? Which disputes were held during the process? What arguments are used to justify the necessity of creating criminal laws? In order to face these questions, the research methods adopted were document analyses and qualitative interviews. I've analyzed parliamentary documents such as law projects and its justifications, substitutions, assessments, transcription notes etc. and I've conducted 12 qualitative interviews with speakers that have participated in the process of creating the law or that have dedicated works in the matters of gender and feminism, being these speakers: 5 congresspeople; 3 feminist activists; 2 researchers on the subject; and 2 jurists.