Puerto Rico In State Of Emergency After Deadly Year Of Gender Violence

(From left) 2020 murder victims LAYLA PELAEZ, NEULISA ALEXA LUCIANO RUIZ, SERENA ANGELIQUE VELÁZQUEZ. / Images via Twitter and the HRC.

Puerto Rico’s newly sworn-in Governor Pedro Pierluisi recently declared a state of emergency in response to the murders of transgender people and women.

According to the Hill, the executive order declaring the emergency for gender-based violence is set to last until June 30, 2022.


“All violence is reprehensible, and we have to fight it relentlessly. Gender violence is a social evil, based on ignorance and attitudes that cannot have space or tolerance in the Puerto Rico that we aspire to,” Pierluisi said in a statement translated by CNN. “For too long vulnerable victims have suffered the consequences of systematic machismo, inequity, discrimination, lack of education, lack of guidance and above all lack of action.” 

By the end of 2020, Puerto Rico experienced 5,517 reported cases of domestic violence with women as the victims. In addition, 60 women were murdered in Puerto Rico last year. Plus, six trans women were killed in the same year. And, again, these are only the reported cases.


With this state of emergency declaration, resources will now be relocated to help fix the problem. A new 17-member committee chaired by the state’s secretary of the family will run services and programs to support women and fight domestic abuse. Among those services is the creation of a new emergency phone number. The safety and protection of victims will be paramount and any call to the number will be hidden in order to protect the victim from their aggressor.

But that’s not all. Law enforcement will now be regulated to staying in content with female victims of violence through a follow-up program. Police officers and government officials will also receive additional training on gender violence. Plus, there will be an overhaul and optimization of statistics about gender-based violence. That, plus the government’s promise to look at how economic issues contribute to violence, such as how women may stay with their abusers due to a lack of financial resources.

“In order to eradicate gender-based violence, we have to make concerted efforts between the state and society where in addition to an inclusive plan,” Pierluisi said. “An educational approach also exists to teach our boys and girls that every human being must be respected, as well as empowering our future generations so we can eradicate this evil.”

Source: The Hill, CNN,

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