“National Emergency Plan Against Gender Violence” is the title of what the Colectiva Feminista en Construcción gave to the plan addressed to the Governor this past 23rd of November in a manifestation against the growing number of femicides in the Island. The Collective held a manifestation where multiple monuments around the capital of San Juan had countless red handprints, symbolizing the blood of domestic violence victims, which are twenty-three reported so far this year. Twenty- three victims of domestic violence is only half of the numbers: the total of femicides has hit an alarming forty-two recently.
However, in an interview with Vilmarie Rivera, executive director of an organization called Casa Nueva Mujer (New Woman Home), by the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo or CPI states that the government’s official numbers of domestic violence don’t coincide with theirs in terms of how many families they’re sheltering. Rivera assures that the increase in the numbers of domestic violence cases is the direct aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
The Colectivo Feminista holds the government, alongside the PRPD, accountable for the homicides since no action has been taken and we find the Governor, Ricardo Rosselló, turning his back and giving mediocre excuses for the negligence in these cases. Going to the comment section in many of the news articles about this event gives the many women who are aware of the problem and identify its multiple sources a heavy heart because the only thing we get to see is a lot of victim-blaming. In regards to the manifestation that led to the front of the Governor’s house, what started out as peaceful turned violent when the police force met protestors with pepper spray and baton hits. They just wanted to meet with the Governor who had invited them to talk about the problem and give incentives and solutions only for the public to be met by silence from Rosselló.
La lucha en pro de los derechos de la mujer no puede ser algo meramente gubernamental, ni de un grupo contra otro. Esto tiene que ser tarea de todos para lograr resultados efectivos. Nuestro compromiso continúa para encaminar medidas para educar y empoderar. pic.twitter.com/cMphTIp3xy
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) November 27, 2018
These violent crimes against women are not being addressed adequately.There has to be a stop to the thought that this is normal, we must stop thinking that it’s okay for woman to die in fits of rage because society has taught men that women can be punching bags.
Amarilis Pagan Jimenez, executive director of an organization that works for mistreated women, Matria Project, tells CPI that the number of women seeking shelter is far higher than what the government reports. This is due because it so happens that the information passes through 3 different departments that investigate the cases and somehow the information gets diluted when it’s presented, giving us wrong statistics. These organizations that work directly with women seeking dire help are trying to raise awareness to the violence against women that is sweeping the Island. It also happens that government officials declare, like the Procurator of Women told the press, that there is no emergency of domestic violence.
It is chilling to see that they’re trying to turn a blind eye towards this big problem. What does it take to make them see this is a serious matter? It doesn’t alert them either when it’s a policeman killing their (ex)spouse, not even then do they want to let people know there is a problem.
Images from the Facebook of the Colectivo Feminista en Construcción.