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Opinion

That viral Brazil rape poll was wrong, but still disturbing

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Ashe Schow,Brazil,War on Women

Last week’s poll that showed that Brazilians believe women wearing revealing clothes deserve to be raped was wrong, according to a statement released Friday by the government agency that conducted the survey.

The original results released by the Institute of Applied Economic Research noted that 65 percent of respondents agreed that if a woman wore clothes that “showed off her body” she deserved to be sexually assaulted. In fact, only 26 percent of respondents agreed.

Of course, more than one-quarter of the population believing that is still frighteningly high.

IPEA, as the agency is known, apologized for the error in a statement. Here's a translation from the original Portuguese:

“We want to publicly ask forgiveness and correct two errors in the results of our survey, ‘Social tolerance toward violence against women,’ released on 3/27/14. The relevant error was caused by switching the graphics relative to the responses to the phrases, ‘A woman who is assaulted and stays with her partner likes to be beaten up,’ and, ‘Women who wear clothes which show off the body deserve to be attacked.’”

This means that 65 percent of Brazilians think women who stay with abusive partners like to be beaten up – which is also disturbing. And the agency said it stood by another disturbing result: that 58.5 percent of respondents agreed that there would be fewer rapes if women knew how to behave.

The IPEA's director of social policy studies, Rafael Guerreiro Osorio, resigned after the error was detected. But the agency was widely excoriated on Twitter and in the country's online media by Brazilians who had been publicly shamed for days as the erroneous results went viral worldwide.

The original release sparked a protest movement led by journalist Nana Queiroz. After her campaign received national attention, Queiroz was threatened with rape, prompting a response from Brazil's female president, Dilma Rousseff, whose office oversees IPEA.

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