Online sexual violence against children and teenagers, vulnerabilities and inequalities: ethnographical notes about two favelas in Brazil.


The central theme of my postdoctoral research is the understanding of different constructions of the notion of sexual violence against children and adolescents in communities characterized as “socially vulnerable.”

The fieldwork that gives base to the proposed reflections has as context two favelas of the city of Rio de Janeiro: Morro da Providência and Complexo do Muquiço. It is difficut to gather quantitative data about life in favelas, especially because the presence of groups linked to drug traffic and the police violence. As I am na anthropologist I use ethnography as the main methodology. So the data of this research comes from direct interaction with adolescents, with children and with the wider observation of community relations and local networks of news and gossip. I truly believe that ethnography can allow us to seize more specific data, something that goes beyond numbers.  While conducting fieldwork an important fact appeared: as a consequence of increasing digital inclusion, especially with the use of mobile phones and mobile networks, there is a significant presence of children and adolescents, from these places, in social networks and in interaction programs (Messenger, Whatsapp). In these environments, in addition to the practice of sexting, adolescents are exposed and are subject to harassment and violence.

My goal is to discuss the challenges involved in mapping the networks of relationships established on the internet when it comes to work with violence in which markers of age, social class and income intersect. Moreover, in contexts marked by the overlapping of violence, it is a preponderant factor to understand how the internet appears as an environment of generation or reiteration of violence for children and adolescents.  This discussion allows us to advance in the understanding of the contradictions, tensions and vulnerabilities involved in the process of technological inclusion (and exclusion) and tell us about the general inequalities (and the digital inequalities are one of them) that we can find in vulnerable and precarious communities in Brazil.




Carol Parreiras
Carol Parreiras

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