Disclaiming of rights? Public policies to tackle violence against women: the case study of the women's police station

This paper deals with the "suspension" of complaints from the records of the Women's Police Station, until Act n. 9.099/95. The ethnographic study was carried out at a police station in the state of Rio de Janeiro (1995-1996) and included the examination of police records, interviews with the victims and observation of daily work at the office. Quite often women from the working class who are victims of marital violence chose not to legally punish their partners, contrarily to feminist's expectations. The results show the specificities of the feminine demand to the police, in which denounced crimes are included in a wider ensemble of complaints referred to male "disturbances" to the family order. The "suspension" of the complaint appears in such context as a police procedure which finds support in the doubtful position of the victims as for the criminalization of their partner's attitude and in the probable impunity of the accused, a strong characteristic of the Brazilian juridical system. Since most victims see the police intervention as a way to reorganize the familiar and conjugal relationship or to make it possible for a conjugal separation, they tend to administer its interference to their own benefit, regaining negotiations with the accused in a superior position to the one in which they found themselves before. Seen through the eyes of women, the "suspension" would be not a contradictory act to the denouncement but an element which could favor the return to a lost reciprocity.

Gender; violence against women; Women's Police Station; family

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