From 2017 to the end of 2020, the number of firearms in the hands of civilians in Brazil doubled. There are now more than 1.2 million weapons in the hands of men and women in the country, which has a population of 211 million. Amid a policy shift in the nation, this number is set to grow, a result of the loosening of laws and regulations by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
Brazilians far and wide will bear the cost of such a policy shift. But women, a group historically and universally targeted by oppression, are to carry an unequal burden. In addition to being victims of armed violence themselves in the domestic setting, often leading to femicides, women are also losing their partners, their children, and other family members to armed violence. Against a backdrop of increased violence, women are also, paradoxically, turning to weapons for self-defense.
This investigation looks into how Brazilian women from all regions of the country and different societal groups are being affected by the violence that results from the increased circulation of firearms. By investigating how such violence plays out in many forms for women around Brazil, journalist Laís Martins aims to document for Brazilian and foreign media outlets how the growth in weapons circulation can leave deep and irreversible wounds.