Rafaela's boyfriend changed after his conviction.
I got pregnant when I was 16. The father and I had met at a party, but when we moved in together he suddenly started to decide everything. It was alright for him to carry on going to parties, but he expected me to stay at home waiting for him. He thought he had the right to make decisions for me, and the right to beat me. I couldn’t accept that.

“He’s changed. He’s a new man and I love him.”

Age: 24

I broke up with him several times and went back to live with my mother, but I always went back to him. He was so full of regret, and I love him.

The worst beating came after our son was born and we had separated, again. I went to my cousin’s birthday party, and my husband came to the club where the party was being held, to force me go home. He stormed up to me and pulled my hair. I was wearing hair extensions which he tore out, and then he threatened to cut the rest off with his knife.  The security guard at the club took us outside and my husband threw me into a taxi. He carried on hitting me, and in the end he pushed me out of the taxi, while it was moving.

It took nine days for me to make my mind up but then I went to the women’s police station. I was examined by a doctor who wrote a medical certificate. My injuries weren’t so obvious by this time, but they were bad enough. At the trial, a year and a half later, he denied everything.

It took nine days for me to make my mind up but then I went to the women’s police station.

The judge told me, and him, that there was evidence. They said I could choose between having him sent to prison for 30 days, or striking a deal. I decided to strike a deal. The deal was that for three years he would take two different courses to work on his attitude to women and violence. One was  at the police station, and the other was here, in our favela. He also had to report to the police station every month and show them that he hadn’t committed any more crimes.

It’s worked. He hasn’t touched me since then. We live together and we’ve had another child. It’s not because of the police report, or out of fear – it’s because he really has changed. He’s a new man, and I love him.