Bar Assn. marks Elimination of Violence Against Women Day

By John McPhaul

In recognition of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Puerto Rico Bar Association on Wednesday reiterated its full support for the demand of women’s organizations for the declaration of a state of emergency in Puerto Rico, given the alarming number of cases of gender violence in its multiple manifestations.

“As jurists who continuously participate in the variou areas of the system that try to administer justice, we know first-hand the impact that violence has on women, their daughters and sons, and on society in general,” said Bar Association President Daisy Calcaño.

“The government agencies that are supposed to address the problem have been far from doing so as the necessary priority,” Calcaño said. “The fight against discrimination, whose most stark manifestation is emotional, sexual, and physical violence up to the point of femicide, has been in the hands of non-profit organizations that offer shelter, protection, emotional support, advice, legal representation, and prevention and education activities, with very little support from the government, but a lot of community solidarity.”

She added that the declaration of a state of emergency would open the door for allocating economic, human, educational, investigative and support resources. With that in mind, she said the Bar Assocation also agrees with feminist and human rights organizations that education with a gender perspective is the key to eradicating the prejudices and stereotypes that are promoted by a macho and patriarchal ideology and are the basis of violence against women.

“Gender-based violence includes hate crimes against the LGBTTQI+ community, within which six transfeminicides have been perpetrated this year, most of which have not been solved,” Calcaño said. “Impunity has to end.”

“The Women’s Commission of the [Bar] Association encourages its [membership] and the Puerto Rican people in general to join the different activities called by women’s organizations to, in remembrance of the three Dominican sisters Minerva, Patria and María Teresa Mirabal, assassinated on November 25, 1960 by the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, repudiate sexist violence and reiterate our commitment to fight for gender equality and the human rights of women,” Calcaño said, extending an invitation to a forum on the subject that the Bar Association will hold on Dec. 10.

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