PIP gubernatorial candidate denounces gov’t inaction on gender violence

By John McPhaul

Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) candidate for governor Juan Dalmau Ramírez accused the island government on Thursday of abandoning women.

“Faced with the crisis of gender violence, painfully evidenced by recent statistics, the Government has chosen to abandon women,” Dalmau Ramírez said while presenting his plan to tackle gender violence, which is part of his “Patria Nueva” program.

Dalmau Ramírez stressed in a written statement that two years ago, women went to La Fortaleza to demand the declaration of a state of emergency. That year, 52 femicides were registered, 23 of which were committed by partners or ex-partners and 28 for causes “under investigation.”

So far in 2020, 18 women have disappeared, 11 of whom are 18 years old or younger, and three between 20 and 24.

“The Office of the Advocate for Women has proven to be ineffective in its role, and the other agencies -- the Police, the Department of Health, the Department of the Family -- ignore their responsibility in this crisis,” the independence leader said.

“It is time to listen and respond to specific requests to address gender violence,” Dalmau Ramírez said. “For my part, and underlining the need for a frank and continuous dialogue with the organizations that have been the voice of women, I commit to the following:

1. Establish a gender perspective, not only in education, but in all government management.

2. Urgently initiate an evaluation of the role of each agency in the prevention of gender violence and care for its victims.

3. Carry out an in-depth review of the way in which statistics related to gender-based violence and other gender-related issues are collected, managed and published.

4. Promote rigorous documentation of the causes and circumstances in which incidents of gender violence are generated, so that a sensible prevention plan can be designed.

5. Ensure adequate preparation of all personnel involved in the care of gender violence: police, judicial officials, social workers, medical personnel.

6. Implement our proposal for Comprehensive Clinical Services for survivors of sexual violence, which provides services beyond legal processes, combining health, academic, sociological and criminal perspectives.

7. Establish special protocols for exceptional situations, such as those that occurred after Hurricane Maria, the earthquakes and the [coronavirus] pandemic, in which the experiences imposed -- from life in shelters to being confined -- have had an impact on gender violence.

8. Recognize and assist the work carried out by non-governmental organizations, and manage the allocation of resources that correspond to the seriousness and urgency of the responsibility they have assumed in the face of the State’s inaction.”

“The light and belated reaction of both the Governor and the [Women’s] Advocate demonstrate how much remains to be done on the issue of equity and justice for women,” Dalmau Ramírez said. “This has to be a priority issue in any public management agenda. Every woman must have her security guaranteed in our homeland.”

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