Puerto Rico declared a state of emergency on Monday (25) because of gender-based violence and put in place public policies to prevent it and help victims, in a decision hailed by human rights organizations in this American Caribbean territory.
The decree of Governor Pedro Pierluisi, announced on Sunday and promulgated on Monday (25), implements public policies to combat “an evil which has already caused too much damage for too long”, which is “based on ignorance” and does not correspond to “modern Puerto Rico”.
“For a long time, vulnerable victims have suffered the consequences of systematic machismo, inequalities, discrimination, lack of education, lack of guidance and, above all, lack of action,” said the governor of the island in a statement.
The declaration of emergency defines gender violence as behaviors that cause physical, sexual or psychological harm to another person motivated by gender stereotypes. This includes threats, assault, emotional or psychological abuse, persecution, and isolation.
According to the document, in 2019, 7,021 cases of domestic violence were recorded in a population of 3.2 million. Of these, 5,896 occurred against women.
Decree 2021-13 against chauvinist violence designates an advisory committee that will recommend and implement public policies, issue protection orders, and monitor and train victims without economic independence, among other measures.
And, in August 2019, the then governor of the island, Ricardo Rossello, resigned due to the discovery of homophobic and misogynistic messages issued by him.
Request for protection of women
The text also orders the development of an application for smartphones that makes it possible to seek help from the authorities in a hidden way, in order to protect the victim from his attacker.
Puerto Rican human rights organizations celebrated the decision.
Vilmarie Rivera, president of the Network of Domestic Violence Shelters in Puerto Rico, said that with this decree “the government has recognized that there is a problem that we must address as a priority.”
However, he indicated that there is still a need to refine details such as how femicides and transfeminicides are reported, in addition to including a gender perspective in the school curriculum.
“Today is a great day for women, girls and all who believed in the declaration of the state of emergency for gender-based violence, which we called for three years ago,” said Lisdel Flores , director of Hogar Ruth, a women’s shelter. victims of violence.