Crimes Against Sexual Dignity and Freedom

Crimes against sexual dignity and freedom are stipulated under Title IV, chapters of the Penal Code, covering various acts that violate victims’ sexual integrity. There has been distancing from patriarchal concepts where the offence was seen merely as an act against societal customs, considering aspects like appropriate clothing, location, and time, along with stigmatised behaviours. These notions used to lead to victim-blaming for the crimes they endured.

Today, offences are correctly classified as crimes against the victim's sexual dignity and sexual freedom. Hence, the victim's consent becomes especially crucial for characterising the crime.

In the case of vulnerable victims, one does not need to inquire about the existence of consent, as the law already stipulates that it cannot be obtained from these individuals. For instance, engaging in sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old adolescent constitutes the crime of rape, regardless of factors related to appearance or clothing, among others. Merely referencing these stereotypes can amount to the crime of institutional violence.

Internet Grooming

Also known as online grooming, it's provided for in Article 241-D of the Statute of the Child and Adolescent and refers to the conduct of facilitating or inducing a child to access pornography with the intent of enticing them into engaging in sexual acts. Exposing children to pornography to spark their sexual interest and then engaging in a sexual act with them or encouraging, requesting, or compelling them to exhibit themselves pornographically can also be considered internet grooming.

Therefore, anyone who grooms, harasses, incites, or coerces, through any means of communication, a child with the intent of engaging in a sexual act with them is subject to imprisonment for one to three years and a fine. The same penalties apply to those who:

I - facilitate or induce a child's access to material containing explicit sex scenes or pornography with the intent of engaging in a sexual act with them;

II - carry out the conduct described above with the intent of inducing a child to exhibit themselves pornographically or explicitly in sexual manner.

For example, if an individual asks a child to appear nude, semi-nude, or in erotic poses in front of a webcam (internet camera) or even in person.

Guardians or close associates should be very vigilant about the content accessed by children and adolescents on the internet. Moreover, they should be alert to specific behaviours exhibited by them, indicative of something amiss, such as:

  • The desire to spend increasing amounts of time on the internet.
  • Being secretive about whom they are communicating with online and the sites they visit.
  • Quickly switching screens when someone approaches the computer, laptop, cellphone, or iPad.
  • Owning items – electronic devices or phones – not given by known individuals.
  • Using unexpected sexual language that is out of place in the home environment.
  • Appearing emotionally volatile.


These are just some of the signs children and adolescents show when they find themselves in such situations. Therefore, if you notice something unusual, engage in dialogue and seek help if necessary.


1 - Article 241 of the ECA (Statute of the Child and Adolescent) penalises, with imprisonment of 4 to 8 years and a fine, anyone who sells or exposes for sale photographs, videos, or other records containing explicit or pornographic sex scenes involving a child or adolescent.

Furthermore, those who offer, exchange, make available, transmit, distribute, publish or disclose by any means, including through computer or telecommunication systems, material that contains explicit or pornographic sex scenes involving children or adolescents are subject to imprisonment of three to six years and a fine (Article 241-A of the ECA).

The same penalties apply to those who:

I - ensure the means or services for the storage of photographs, scenes, or images;
II - facilitate, by any means, access via computer networks to the photographs, scenes, or images mentioned above.

It''s important to highlight that the aforementioned conducts are punishable when the service provider, officially notified, fails to disable access to the illicit content mentioned in this article.

2 - Anyone who acquires, possesses, or stores, by any means, photographs, videos, or other forms of records containing explicit or pornographic sex scenes involving children or adolescents is subject to imprisonment of one to four years and a fine. The crime is exempted if possession or storage is intended to report to competent authorities of the occurrence of the conducts described in Articles 240, 241, 241-A, and 241-C of this Law, provided that the communication is made by:

I - a public agent within the exercise of their functions;
II - a member of a legally constituted entity that includes, among its institutional purposes, the receipt, processing, and forwarding of news about the crimes referred to in this paragraph;
III - the legal representative and responsible employees of an internet access provider or service provided through a computer network until the receipt of material related to the news made to the police authority, the Public Prosecutor''s Office or the Judiciary. The aforementioned individuals must keep the illicit material confidential.

3 - Anyone who simulates the participation of a child or adolescent in explicit or pornographic sex scenes by altering, assembling, or modifying photographs, videos, or any other form of visual representation is subject to imprisonment of one to three years and a fine. The same penalties apply to those who sell, expose for sale, make available, distribute, publish, or disclose by any means, acquire, possess, or store material produced in the aforementioned manner.


1. Rape

"Rape is one of the most severe forms of sexual violence. It's a crime in which the assailant, through violence or serious threat, forces the victim (either woman or man) to engage in sexual intercourse (coitus or any libidinous act) with them (the assailant). The penalties for this crime range from 6 (six) to 30 (thirty) years of imprisonment, depending on the victim's vulnerability (for example, children and adolescents) and the severity and nature of the violence in each case (for example, painful physical injuries, severe suffering, or death). According to data from the Ministry of Health (SINAN), in 2016, about 23,000 people were victims of rape and treated at SUS (Unified Health System), and around 90% of them were female, with over 50% being under the age of 14."

Rape involves imposing sexual acts through threat or violence, such as:

  • Touching someone's intimate parts without consent;

  • Forcing someone to touch your intimate parts or engage in sexual intercourse through physical coercion;

  • Threatening or coercing.


The above-mentioned are a few examples of how rape occurs in practice. Since this crime directly violates the victim's privacy, there is a natural reluctance to report it, resulting in approximately 50% of rapes going unreported. This alarming figure reveals victims’ feelings of oppression, as they must visit a police station and undergo a physical examination, retelling the details of their violent experience to different people, and run the risk of not being believed.

The aftermath of rape can be multifaceted, affecting both the physical and psychological health of the victim. Most rape victims experience various physical and psychological symptoms resulting from the assault, such as fatigue and headaches.

Common symptoms also include sleep disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, feelings of degradation and loss of self-esteem, feelings of depersonalisation or derealisation, guilt, anxiety, fear of being alone or in crowds, sexual fears, recurrent nightmares about the rape, panic disorder, suicidal tendencies, and issues with intimate relationships.

If you have been a victim of rape at any point in your life, it's crucial to seek specialised help to cope with the trauma and report the crime if possible. Taking action can prevent others from becoming victims and ensure that support systems are in place for those who need them.


2. Sexual Assault on a Vulnerable Person

Sexual assault on a vulnerable person is covered under a different penal code, as described in Article 217-A, established by Law 12.015/2009. It prohibits engaging in coitus or any libidinous act with a person under 14, punishable by 8 to 15 years of imprisonment.

A person is also considered vulnerable if they cannot consent to the act due to illness or mental disability or, for any reason, cannot defend themselves.

For example, if a victim is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, they cannot defend themselves, and the perpetrator can be charged with sexual assault on a vulnerable person. It's important to note that there can be no consent in these cases, as valid consent is impossible to obtain.

Finally, when sexual assault on a vulnerable person results in bodily harm or death, the penalties are increased to 10 to 20 years and 12 to 30 years of imprisonment, respectively.


The conduct entails engaging in coitus or another libidinous act with someone by using fraud or other means that prevent or hinder the victim’s free expression of will.

The agent relies on fraud (deception, trickery, artifice) or any other means obstructing the victim’s free expression of will, aiming to sexually abuse them. Due to the circumstances at that moment, the victim cannot freely express their will. The victim’s mistake will be regarding the act being performed or the person with whom the act is being performed.

This penal type does not encompass victims who are under the influence of medication, alcohol, or drugs, as this would constitute the crime of sexual assault against a vulnerable person.

The process occurs through representation, meaning the victim must authorise the State to investigate and promote criminal action. However, if the victim is over 14 and under 18 years of age, the criminal action will be public and unconditional, meaning it does not require representation, and the State can act officially. It’s important to note that if the victim is under 14 years of age, the crime will be considered sexual assault against a vulnerable person.


It involves the act of performing a libidinous act (of a sexual nature) in the presence of someone, without their consent, with the intention of satisfying one’s own lasciviousness (sexual pleasure) or that of another person.

Libidinous acts can be considered practices and behaviours aimed at satisfying sexual desire, such as groping, licking, touching, undressing, masturbating, or ejaculating in public, among others.

The government of Mato Grosso do Sul has provided channels for victims of sexual harassment or individuals who have witnessed it to report such incidents. These channels are:

180 - Women's Assistance Hotline
190 - Military Police


It consists of coercion with a sexual connotation in the workplace where, as a rule, the perpetrator uses their superior hierarchical position or influence to obtain what they desire.

Sexual harassment can occur through blackmail or intimidation. Blackmail occurs when the acceptance or rejection of a sexual advance is a determinant for the harasser to make a decision that is favourable or detrimental to the work situation of the harassed individual.

On the other hand, intimidation-based harassment encompasses all conduct resulting in a hostile, intimidating, or humiliating work environment. Such conduct may not necessarily target a specific individual or group of individuals and may manifest as the display of pornographic material in the workplace.

Be aware of the signs of sexual harassment: receiving embarrassing proposals that violate your sexual freedom, being a victim of blackmail in exchange for benefits or to avoid losses, and undergoing intimidation and humiliation.

Other examples include whistling, insults, and intimidating gestures, as well as conversations or “jokes” with a sexual connotation that an individual may not find amusing. This can also include persistent invitations for a date.

Check if your company has a compliance policy to report these practices. Always report to the police. Consider keeping all elements that may assist in proving your case in court (such as emails and notes) and identify if there are any witnesses, among other potential proofs.


This involves the act of producing, photographing, filming, or recording, by any means, content with scenes of nudity or sexual or lascivious acts of an intimate and private nature without the consent of the participants. Additionally, individuals who create montages in photographs, videos, audio, or any other recordings to include a person in scenes of nudity or sexual or lascivious acts of an intimate nature are also liable for this crime.

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