Don’t walk between the bark and the tree.
“After my daughter was murdered, I slept for six months.”
Lives: São Gonçalo
I think that a lot of what’s happening in the modern world is wrong. I suppose you could call me old-fashioned. I don’t think girls should be out in the evenings meeting boys, going to nightclubs or walking unaccompanied on the streets. Joseane didn’t do any of those things. She was a good, kind girl, who spent most of her time at home. Her uncle used to walk her to the bus every morning, but on that particular morning he was too late …..
I lived alone with Joseane after her father and I separated. I owned a small shop and we were doing well financially, we had a nice house and a car. Joseane was studying, and she helped out in the shop when I needed her. That’s where she met William.
When William asked me for permission to start taking Joseane out, she was only just 15, and he was 29. I thought she was too young, but an acquaintance of ours, who knew William, said he was a good man, and he had a permanent job. He didn’t smoke or drink, and he didn’t take drugs. They met at our home most of the time, or they went to the cinema. I’ve got lots of pictures of him in our house. The picture they used for the wanted posters was taken at Joseane’s desk.
He hardly had any friends. Sometimes he would fly into a rage and walk out.
After a while, I began to like William less and less. There was something odd about him. He was cold and domineering and jealous. He hardly had any friends. Sometimes he would fly into a rage and walk out. But Joseane always defended him if I said anything. I don’t really know what she saw in him. Maybe the fact that he was so much older was exciting. I didn’t find out how bad things really were until afterwards.
After she had started university she decided to end the relationship. That was in April 2007. That was when I found out he had been beating her. But she didn’t tell me what happened after that.
Now I know that William started harassing her after she left him. He used to follow her, and he called her several times a day. He even threatened to kill her, and she knew he kept guns at home. Now I also know that she had told her friends she was planning to break off her studies and go to stay with someone she knew in northern Brazil. She was going to go into hiding. On that Friday, she bought a camera so she could take photos of all her friends before she left the city. She’d told a friend that.
But she didn’t say anything to me.
Why not? I could have helped her. I would have done anything for her, if only she’d told me.
I could have helped her. I would have done anything for her, if only she’d told me.
On that Monday morning, the 7th of May 2007, she got up before me, as usual. She showered, had breakfast and looked in to say good bye. She was wearing a pair of light jeans, a T-shirt and trainers when she left. She wasn’t used to being out on her own. My brother always used to walk her to the bus stop, but on this particular morning he was too late.
Joseane had gone about 100 metres when a car drew up behind her. A masked man jumped out, pulled out a gun and shot her. It was William. She fell, and he walked up to her and fired again, in the head, point-blank. Then he grabbed her bag, to make it look like a robbery. Her notebook was in the bag. We think it contained a threatening letter he had written. Some people came and woke me up and I got to Joseane just in time to hear her final breath. Then the police came.
I got to Joseane just in time to hear her final breath.
My life ended then. I slept for six months, had to sell the shop and moved to my sister. Now I’m working again, but it’s hard.
After the murder, William jumped back into his car and drove straight to work. He got into the shower, but the police found traces of gunpowder when they took him in for questioning. They released him, but they tapped his phone and heard him asking a friend to give him an alibi. She refused, and then she gave evidence against him.
William disappeared during the investigation but he was found guilty of murder in his absence. He is wanted. There is a reward of 2,000 real (1,200 USD) for anyone who can tell the police where he is. I’m disappointed in the police and the courts. Everything is so slow.
I will never get over her death. Never.
Every day I remember something new. I see something in a shop window that Joseane would have liked, or I cook something I know she would have wanted. I’ve had photos of Joseane printed on my T-shirt along with a poem my sister wrote: “Your love made me remember God’s love.” I will never get over her death. Never.
Maternal deaths: 58 deaths per l00,000 births
Number of children/woman: 2.18
Abortion legislation: Abortion is not legal. It is only allowed if the woman’s life is at risk or if she has been the victim of rape or incest.
Law against rape within marriage: Yes
Violence against women in close relationships: 41,532 women were murdered in the years 1997-2007. That implies 10 women every day. The majority were murdered by men they knew. In the first six months of 2010 over 40,000 incidents of violence against women were reported.