Governor readies executive plan aimed at stopping gender violence
By The Star Staff
A year after declaring a “state of national alert” over the high number of violent killings of women, Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced over the weekend that she is reviewing the draft of a new executive order aimed at stopping violence against women in Puerto Rico.
The executive order also comes following a wave of high-profile killings of women and transgender women that has brought the total number of women slain in Puerto Rico in the past year to 37 as of Oct. 5, according to the Gender Equity Observatory.
The governor said the executive order is expected to be accompanied by an action plan, as a result of a year of work in which many meetings were held with different sectors of the population that represent the diversity of women on the island.
The executive order and action plan are the answer to calls from feminist and gender equality groups and organizations for a re-evaluation, review and update of actions currently undertaken by public agencies and other governmental and non-governmental groups for the protection of women in Puerto Rico.
“Violence against women is a social problem that threatens the dignity, human rights and integrity of all women; teenage girls, elderly women and all in their diversity,” the governor said in a statement Saturday. “It’s our mission to do everything in our power to implement in a clear way the measures to eradicate it. We recognize that violence does not distinguish among sex, race, color, sexual orientation, social or economic status, and religion.”
“However, last year, 70 percent of the cases of domestic violence in Puerto Rico were against women,” Vázquez added. “We will stop the abuse, inequality and impunity. No more! It is everyone’s responsibility and a collective effort of the country.”
The order not only contains an official declaration of the problem of violence toward women in Puerto Rico, but also provides for the participation of groups and women’s organizations, integrating them into public agencies and non-governmental organizations for the joint work of executing the order.
It includes strategies targeting prevention and education, as well as the collection of statistical data that can be used for analysis of the problem, provision of resources and a baseline for measuring the effectiveness of the initiatives.
Among the organizations that presented proposals that were integrated into the action plan are Women Leaders of Puerto Rico, Women Faced with Adversity, Wings for Women Foundation, Women for Puerto Rico and the Feminist Collective Under Construction, Health Justice Center, Shelters Network and Women’s Peace Coordinator, among others.