Screen capture from the video showing the two alleged thieves being beaten up.
A video published last week on social networks shows alleged petty thieves being humiliated and beaten by a group of men in a supermarket in Luanda, the capital of Angola. Our Observer says this incident illustrates the “lack of respect” toward women in her country.
During the first few seconds of the video, two women are photographed and filmed holding up a bottle of champagne, which, according to their attackers, they allegedly tried to steal from a supermarket called Prelex. The scene takes place in a warehouse located near the supermarket.
From there, the situation quickly turns violent. The men start hitting the two women all over their bodies with batons and belts. They then force them to eat hot spices before tying them to a pole and subjecting them to more torture.
This video created shockwaves in Angola. The president of the Organisation of Angolan Women, Luzia Ingles, demanded that the men in the video be “severely punished”. The country’s prosecutor-general opened an investigation that has led to the arrest of 11 people, including the supermarket’s manager, who admitted to taking part in the incident. The suspects risk being sentenced to up to eight years in jail.
WARNING: Though many parts of the original video have been edited out by FRANCE 24, this video still contains shocking images.
"Violence against women is quite common in my country"
Delma Monteiro is an independent consultant who works on issues related to AIDS and human rights in Angola. She lives in Luanda.
Beyond the cruelty and sadism displayed by the attackers, I was also shocked to see a woman present in the room, standing there as if nothing were wrong. [Editor’s Note: The woman in question appears at the very end of the video, when the two victims are tied to the pole].Unfortunately, these acts of violence are quite common in my country because there’s a severe lack of respect towards women. Many similar crimes have gone unpunished. The men who filmed this horrible video naively published it on YouTube because they never thought they would get punished. And even in the cases where culprits get caught, they often get handed such light sentences that they don’t hesitate to attack women again.There is also a double standard when it comes to crimes of passion. Prison sentences are much longer for women than for men. Take the case of Nerika Loureiro. In 2011, this young woman was sentenced to 17 years in prison for having killed her husband, under unclear circumstances. Meanwhile, last year, another woman, Romana Belarmino, was beaten to death by her husband, in the presence of their 5-year-old son. The husband was never officially found and no details about the case were ever rendered public."Some women see violence as being inevitable because there are no institutions that they can turn to for help"In July 2011, our national assembly passed a law on domestic violence, but it is worded so vaguely that it has been of no help to women who are victims of violence. The law calls for education about sex equality, but the government has done nothing since then to educate people.However, our entire society needs to come together to change attitudes toward women; it’s not just the government’s responsibility. Some women see violence as being inevitable because there are no institutions that they can turn to for help, not even just to talk about their problems. This means that children grow up in a really unhealthy atmosphere, where violence against women is practically normal. If nothing is done, some of these children will undoubtedly repeat their fathers’ mistakes when they grow up.