New Year's Massacre in Brazil Exposes Widespread Anger Against Women

On New Year's Eve, 46-year-old Sidnei Ramis de Araujo entered the Campinas, Brazil home where his ex-wife, Isamara Filler, was celebrating the end of 2016 with her family.    After a gun rampage in which he killed twelve people, including his ex-wife and his own eight-year-old son, Joao Victor, Araujo then took his own life.

Before going on his killing spree, Araujo recorded an audio statement on the cell phone which he left behind in his car.   He also arranged for an email message to friends in which he explained his motives.   This "manifesto", which has since been reprinted in newspapers across the country, laid the blame for the killing on his ex-wife whom he accused of keeping him away from his son.   The statement also blamed "a feminist system and some crazy women" for "ruining his life."   He described all women as "sluts that do everything to alienate fathers" and also mocked the Brazilian legal system for its harsh punishments for domestic violence.   The rambling message goes on to make hateful comments about human rights campaigners, former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, and the plight of fathers under Brazilian law.

While family members tried to make sense of Araujo's rampage and described him as a "sweet person who never smoked or drank",  his ex-wife had filed five police reports against him during the previous ten years, along with accusations of threats, aggression, and sexual abuse against her son.    One of Joao Victor's teachers even told reporters that the boy had once said that "he would kill his father once he had grown up."  

As for community reactions to the killings, the often bitter divide between Brazilian men and women was grimly apparent.   Anthropologist Debora Diniz wrote that "Sidnei killed because he couldn’t stand the break-up or the law enforcement against his patriarchal abuse, because he lost his domestic domain as the sovereign.”   Journalist Carol Patrocinio wrote that "we’ve seen several stories of women who had been violated and who are called a problem when they push their kids away from the other parent. It’s worth remembering that fathering a child biologically and raising a child are two distinct things. We’ve seen thousands of men justify their violence and lack of self-control, often blaming other people’s behavior."

On the other hand, many men were far more sympathetic towards Sidnei, some even openly approving his actions.  One commenter laid all the blame on Isamara stating that , "it really looks like she was cheating on him and took his son away from him or was still charging a very expensive alimony it is not right to kill people but NEVER TEST A MAN."   Others blamed feminism for the tragedy, including one commenter who had this to say:  "MEN:Run away from feminists, like the devil runs from the cross, do not have relationships with them, do not parent other people’s children, do not have children, if you do, pay attention to what your kid is learning at school, avoid at any cost any humanities class at public or private colleges, they are the cancer eating this society from inside, get ready for the psychopath generation that is yet to come."

With the public anger over domestic violence laws that are deemed to be too restrictive of men's rights, it's hardly surprising that Brazil has one of the highest femicide rates in the world (4.8 per 100,000 according to the World Health Organization.)   As women's rights advocates acknowledge, domestic violence and other feminist issues are not a priority in Brazilian society.  This means that future tragedies such as the one that killed Isamara Filler and her family are only a matter of time.

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