Senior Founds NGO in Brazil that Works to End Sexual Violence
Lucas Verardi Dal Corso Roos (C’21) from Guaporé, Brazil, founded the NGO Conte Comigo after returning home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The senior is working with a team of lawyers as well as local politicians to combat sexual violence in his hometown and beyond.
Building a Better Community
Roos spent his childhood in Brazil but moved to the United States for high school and college. He said that he was not aware of how pervasive sexual assault was until he returned home this past spring.
“The #MeToo movement is really only now catching on in Brazil, and many women have taken to outing their offenders through an anonymous Twitter account this year,” he explains. “Sexual assault is something that everyone knew was an issue, but no one was doing anything about, so I decided to take action.”
After doing further research, Roos found that a huge problem is that sexual violence is seen as simply a part of life, and many individuals and groups who are in positions to help victims of violence such as the police, either ignore the individual or blame them for their circumstance. To compound this problem, very few people know how to properly handle accusing their assaulter.
“In my hometown, 90% of people did not know how to navigate the legal system after experiencing sexual violence, and the 10% that did know would often not get anything done,” Roos says. “Because of this, I knew that there needed to be an organization that not only assisted victims with legal help, but also invested in education and the community.”
Roos began by assembling a team of lawyers that would be available to provide legal advice to victims of sexual violence. He also started working with the mayor of his town to implement sex education programs in schools in his community.
After a recent meeting with Damares Alves, the Minister of Human Rights, Roos knew it was important to disseminate education about sexual assault and violence at large.
“Data from the Minister of Human Rights in Brazil finds that people are much more likely to pursue legal action when given a proper sex education and have knowledge of the legal system,” Roos says. “Because of this, the NGO also launched an Instagram page full of infographics that address different ways people might experience sexual violence and what to do in those situations to protect themselves and others.”
Through this social media platform, Roos and other members of his organization can answer questions submitted to them anonymously or directly. Conte Comigo has also set up a discussion group on WhatsApp that viewers can access at a link in their Instagram bio.
Big Idea, Big Impact
Roos said that when he started researching this topic, he never expected to be the lead of the organization, but he is thrilled with the progress the NGO has made in just a few short months.
When it began, Conte Comigo only had 6 members, but the NGO has already grown to 30 members in addition to several allied organizations. Roos is currently working with the Minister of Human Rights to expand the organization outside of his hometown to surrounding communities and eventually all of Brazil.
Roos said that his time at Georgetown has taught him the importance of seeing things from different perspectives in order to create the biggest positive impact.
“I decided to major in both German and physics because I wanted to develop both sides of my brain: the analytical and the cultural,” says Roos. “Both majors have provided me with different skill sets which I believe is why my NGO is as successful as it is today. Every aspect of Georgetown, from my classes, to my friends, the environment in Washington has prepared me to handle this situation with empathy and critical thinking.”
If you are interested in becoming involved with Conte Comigo through outreach, marketing, or mental health training, contact Lucas Roos at email@example.com.
-by Shelby Roller (G’19)