On July 22, security cameras caught Luís Felipe Manvailer beating Tatiane Spitzner, his wife of five years. Video shows him assaulting Spitzner in their building’s garage and dragging her into the elevator, where she tries desperately to flee, but he pulls her back in. Then, it shows Spitzner falling to her death from the couple’s fifth floor apartment, and Manvailer going to bring her lifeless body back to their apartment. In the elevator, he checks himself out in the mirror, then wipes his wife’s blood off the wall.
These horrific scenes were first aired Sunday on the Brazilian TV news program Fantástico, and since then, video of the security-camera footage has gone viral in Brazil, and prompted a nationwide debate over how to address domestic violence, the New York Times reports.
According to a 2012 survey, Brazil has the seventh highest rate of femicide (the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender) in the world, with 4.4 murders per 100,000 women. A 2017 survey found that a third of women in Brazil have been the victims of violence, and that over half of the attackers were either their current or former partners.
“The video just reflects the levels of violence we have been documenting,” Maria Laura Canineu, the Brazil director for Human Rights Watch, told the Times. “What Brazil has to learn is that most of these cases are preventable. It is very rare that a murder is the first case of violence.”
One of Spitzner’s friends told Fantástico that Spitzner frequently had bruises on her arms, and that she once sent a message saying her husband “hated her to death.”
In the days since the footage aired, a social-media campaign has developed: #metaAcolher or “stick a spoon in,” which urges people to reject the popular Brazilian saying, “When it’s a fight between husband and wife, don’t stick a spoon in,” and to intervene to stop domestic violence.
Police are currently investigating Manvailer, who lives in the southern Brazilian town of Guarapuava, for his wife’s murder. According to the Times, in the 15 minutes between when he heaved Spitzner back into the apartment and when she fell to her death, neighbors reportedly heard “desperate screams for help.”
“It’s sad, but maybe something this brutal will wake people up to the reality of domestic abuse,” Canineu said. “Maybe it will mobilize them.”