The Brazilian Senate has approved a bill that will increase penalties for gang rapes.
At present, Brazil’s Criminal Code establishes penalties between six and 10 years in prison for rape and up to 12 years if the sexual assault is committed by more than two people, EFE news reported.
With the new law approved by the Senate on Tuesday, the penalty for gang rape would be increased up to over 13 years, although the sentence could be higher if the victim is under 14 or dies after the assault.
President of the Senate Renan Calheiros said the bill is in response to the rape of a 16-year-old girl in a slum of Rio de Janeiro, a video of which was made available online.
The girl told police that she was drugged, raped and when she woke up, she was surrounded by 33 men armed with guns and rifles.
The police confirmed that the rape is “proven” and that the number of rapists who took part in the assault is being investigated.
The case, which came to light last week, deeply saddened Brazil and prompted a string of condemnations including from the suspended President Dilma Rousseff and interim head of state Michel Temer.
While the investigations continue, the government announced the establishment of a new department to fight the crimes against women, which will be under the justice ministry.