‘Like a horror film’: Brazilian women’s footballer ‘sexually abused on bus after game’
A women's football team in Brazil were allegedly attacked and one player sexually abused as a pair of unidentified men approached them after a recent defeat.
Abelhas Rainhas, or 'the Queen Bees' in English, play in the Piaui state championship in the northeast of South America's biggest country.
Following a 3-2 defeat to Fluminense-PI, two men allegedly made for some members of the squad and its delegation as they were preparing to leave the Lindolfo Monteiro Stadium in Teresina.
Quiteria Alves, the club's president, first had her bag stolen. And then, according to coach Begao Silva, a player was sexually abused on the team bus as she waited for her teammates.
#FutbolFemenino Dos sospechosos asaltaron al equipo femenino de fútbol 'Abelhas Rainhas' y abusaron sexualmente de una de las jugadoras, al término de un partido de un torneo regional, en el estado brasileño de Piauí (noreste), denunció este jueves el club. pic.twitter.com/mSnHDixswV— TRK Sports (@TRKSports) December 3, 2021
According to the Piaui Football Federation, local Military Police were called to the scene by a player who managed to grab their attention, and fired shots which caused the assailants to flee.
They abandoned Alves' documents and money, which were recovered, but no arrests were made amid an incident that she described as like "something out of a horror film."
"It sunk in on the bus as we were leaving," Alves explained to Globoesporte. "I couldn't even sleep, thinking about everything that happened, which could have been worse.
"This story could have taken another direction, there could have been a sea of blood with many players running, drivers running [away]. [It was] very terrifying.
"What hurts me most is having to have heard from a federation representative is that we were [in the] wrong in this situation," she concluded.
Alves' comments suggest that the common culture of victim blaming in Brazil may have reared its head in the aftermath, and the match officials wrote nothing in their report due to the crime having taken place outside the stadium.
In order to avoid a repeat, however, the federation has promised police support to the Queen Bees for their upcoming matches, says Alves.
As per the alleged sexual assault, Silva said that her player reported being touched in her private parts and screaming for help, but the club is not believed to have filed a police report.
Due to one of the men being armed with a knife, the driver of the coach allegedly ran off too.
"It's a regrettable situation," said Silva. "We're in total despair. Unfortunately this happened. We didn't have time to go out together [to the bus] because the staff from the federation kept pressing us to vacate the locker room soon. If everyone showered and went out together, it would be harder to rob everyone together. Now when he [one of the men] sees that it's a woman..."
"There was just me and the driver carrying [things]. There was only time for us to go out to get the rest and the guy took the bag and ran away," said the coach.
According to Alves, the player, who was "touched on her breasts" before the abuser "dropped his hand [down below]", has been asked if she would like an "individual psychological follow-up".
Insisting she is fine, however, the victim has said she only wants treatment if her teammates also receive it.
In a statement, the federation said that it follows "all security protocols" on matchdays where its games are held and confirmed the taking of the bag while omitting any mention or details about the alleged sexual assault.
"The FFP [Football Federation of Piaui] clarifies that it has always strived for the safety of everyone involved in games in all the sporting facilities in the State. But unfortunately, outside the stadiums, we are all subject to the insecurity that prevails in our society," it concluded.
On Saturday, the Queen Bees return to the field to play against Skill Red at the same ground.