I swear I wish I was talking about another topic this week. Yesterday we started promoting my new TV show, Diz Aí, and I wanted to just talk about it. But Ana Hickmann’s attacker didn’t leave me. Alexandre Correa, now the victim’s ex-husband, did not allow me to talk about joys and achievements. The confessed attacker sent a message to me. He sent a message to all the women in Brazil.
It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you’ve achieved, it doesn’t matter your fame, your reputation, your money. You will always be subject to a man. There will always be a more “powerful” man who can do whatever he wants with you. Even though his power comes from primitive physical strength.
This is the message given.
This is the metaphor for a man’s aggression against a woman like Ana Hickmann. Every time a man attacks a woman, he sends a message to everyone else. It reminds us all that we are at risk.
It doesn’t matter where you, woman, have arrived. Your place is always below a man.
Gender-based violence affects women of all classes and races, although it is more present in the lives of black and indigenous women and women with less purchasing power and less educational background.
But no woman is safe. Not even the rich and famous. At the beginning of the month, influencer Patrícia Ramos denounced her ex-husband for several episodes of violence. Last year, 35 women were assaulted every minute in Brazil. There are more than 50 thousand women attacked daily in our country, more than 18 million per year, according to the Brazilian Public Security Forum.
All women are at risk and under the daily threat of being raped. And Ana Hickmann’s attacker is there to remind us of that.
We know that one of the main reasons that trap women in violent relationships is financial dependence. Women who do not work outside the home and dedicate themselves to caring for their home, husband and children are left without the resources to leave the relationship if they so wish.
It is also important that women have information, know their rights and the types of violence to be able to recognize it. Our patriarchal society normalizes this violence until we no longer notice it.
It is also very important to have a support network. People you can count on to welcome, talk to and help resolve practical issues as well.
Ana Hickmann seems to meet these conditions.
And I hope that a therapeutic process can help you and your son overcome this trauma and all the disappointment that comes from the end of a relationship.
Famous, successful, beautiful women, with access to information, to their rights, with a support network, can go through this type of situation because the fault is not with the woman, it is with the abusive man. And in a society that carefully undermines women’s self-esteem and self-confidence.
A woman with undermined self-esteem, who does not believe in her own potential, is much more susceptible to being manipulated and controlled.
Even professionally accomplished women can end up being subject to men who need to assert themselves as more powerful. Men who manipulate women into believing that their power and success come from their presence in their lives. That everything they achieved was thanks to them and not themselves. And they end up believing, feeling dependent on these guys, thinking that they won’t be able to live without them.
Our shattered self-esteem is socially constructed and purposeful. We spend our lives pointing out defects in women, in their bodies and intellect, doubting their capabilities, questioning their intelligence, painting images of crazy and hysterical women, emotionally unbalanced, subject to hormones, making jokes and teasing that reinforce stereotypes of submission, incapacity, of insufficiency, blaming them for everything…
All of this transforms the idea that a woman has of herself and she starts to always strive to please, always fulfilling other people’s desires and leaving her own aside, everything to avoid being rejected, everything to be loved.
In addition to emotional dependence, the system of beliefs and values itself (for example, the idea that a woman’s success is to have a good marriage; that divorce is a woman’s failure; the desire for the child to grow up with both parents together) …) can make women endure certain violence.
Women, accustomed to hearing that “men are just like that”, that “every relationship has a good side and a bad side”, that “those who love, forgive” and things like that, are led to stay in abusive relationships without realizing it.
And they cling to the few moments of joy because always, always, after acts of violence, the aggressor behaves with all the love and affection. It is the so-called cycle of violence, which is usually divided into three phases: a phase of tension, that of aggression, and that of the honeymoon. This sequence keeps repeating itself.
In the case of Ana Hickmann, the love for her son brought her lucidity. In a post on social media, she declared to the child: “My strength, my motivation, the love of my life!!! It’s because of him that I wake up and go after my dreams every day.”
Women are so socialized to prioritize others before themselves that, even when trying to free themselves from violence, it was for the child that she decided to do so. He would have witnessed his parents fighting.
Obviously, no matter what the motivation was, a woman’s strength and courage in leaving an abusive relationship are worthy of support and applause. A public woman, who knows that women are often judged along with their attackers, who has a young son, mustered the courage to report, expose and separate.
Growing up in a violent home has serious consequences for children. Mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression; cognitive impairments and learning disorders; low school performance; impacts on memory; chemical dependency; relationship problems; aggressive behaviors and even suicide attempts. Furthermore, it normalizes violence for children, who tend to reproduce it and perpetuate cycles of aggression.
- For Ana’s attacker and everyone else, I send my message here:
We will not accept violence!
- And to women, I say with all my love:
Don’t feel guilty for not being able to leave relationships that hurt you. Overcoming all of this and meeting the conditions to leave abusive relationships is a challenge. But I believe in you! I know you will be able to get out of this situation. May it be for us, first of all. And let it also be for the children. For beloved children who don’t deserve to see the woman they love most being attacked by the man they trust most.