On September 28, dozens of people marched to La Fortaleza to demand a state of emergency for gender violence. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
The shooting murder of a young 22-year-old mother last night in Villalba fueled the demand for Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced to declare a state of emergency for violence against women in Puerto Rico.
Although various organizations have been asking since 2018 that the government take concrete action to tackle gender-based violence, they have not yet seen a light at the end of the tunnel.
While that happens, crimes against women continue to increase. The shooting death of Nashaly Cristina Torres Vargas , who was the mother of a four-year-old boy, occurs less than two weeks after the body of Rosimar Rodríguez , the 20-year-old who was kidnapped in front of her residence in Toa Baja , appeared lifeless in Dorado. Police data maintain that so far this year there have been 32 violent deaths of women, of which 30 are adults and two are minors.
For Lisdel Flores, spokesperson for the Hogar Ruth for battered women, and Frances Hernández, her director of the Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer organization, Torres Vargas' death fills the organizations that serve women victims of gender violence with consternation and highlights the need for a state of emergency to give way to resources and concrete initiatives to put a stop to violence.
“It's a total dismay, you don't finish getting up and getting well. I think there is no way to recover from murders of this magnitude, because no matter the circumstances, no one deserves to die that way. It's a lot of consternation, “ Flores told El Nuevo Día .
Against this background, the professional urged Vázquez Garced to declare a state of emergency, since, according to her, it is the right way to deal with this social evil.
Although the first executive said last week in a television interview in Orlando, Florida, that upon her return to the island from an official trip she would sign an executive order to address gender violence, it is unknown whether it will be to establish a state of emergency. In September 2019, Vázquez Garced chose to declare an emergency alert for sexist violence instead of a state of emergency, but, according to Flores, the initiative has not yielded results.
“From the groups we have been asking for a state of emergency to be decreed. An executive order versus a state of emergency could leave out many of the things that a state of emergency could address, such as, for example, providing resources and creating a mass educational campaign, “ established Flores.
Asked why the authorities do not respond affirmatively to the consensus within the non-profit organizations that serve victims of gender violence, Flores said that the government permeates “a lack of will.” She also pointed out that there is a problem of education among public officials and citizens in general.
“There is a matter of erroneous beliefs and of not correctly interpreting what is happening. When we talk about the murders of women, we make a comparison to the fact that there are more men who murder than women. In fact, all lives are worthwhile, but men do not die in the same context as women. Men are not killed for being a man or not killed by their partner for the simple fact that they think you belong to them, “he stressed.
The Colectiva Feminista en Construcción called a demonstration called “Long live we love each other, the graves are for the patriarchy”, which left the Santa Magadalena de Pazzis cemetery towards La Fortaleza, in Old San Juan. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
This claim comes more than a year after Governor Wanda Vázquez chose to enact an alert and not a state of emergency to address violence against women. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
However, this determination does not seem to have paid off, according to the feminist organization. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
The protest came after it was learned that a body found by the police two days ago, in a state of disintegration, corresponded to that of Rosimar Rodríguez Gómez, a 20-year-old girl who was kidnapped in Toa Baja. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
The body was found on the PR-165 highway, kilometer 20.1 in the municipality of Dorado. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
Although authorities have interviewed more than 10 people in connection with Rodríguez Gómez's disappearance, no one has yet been arrested as a suspect in the crime. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
Despite knowing the preliminary details and after confirming that the body is that of Rosimar, Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced has not expressed herself and has not declared a state of emergency. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
Among the proposals of the Colectiva Feminista en Construcción is the declaration of a state of emergency to allocate resources to address the wave of gender violence on the island. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
In addition, they request the implementation of a curriculum with a gender perspective in the public education system, so that it is committed to instilling equity and justice in the education of girls and boys. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
So far this year the Police has accumulated more than 18 reports of missing women. However, authorities deny that there is a pattern that includes kidnapping. (Ramón “Tonito” Zayas)
For his part, Hernández claimed that the state of emergency must be accompanied by a redefinition of the violent deaths of women. According to the professional, the Police must begin to call these crimes feminicides.
“The murder of this woman (Torres Vargas) is a feminicide, because it is a violent death of a woman who could have done something to prevent this from happening,” he explained.
Hernández indicated that a femicide is classified as such regardless of the circumstances of the crime.
“That definition is independent of the circumstances. That is, whether or not there are motives related to, for example, drugs, “he acknowledged. There may be factors related to drugs, there may be mental health factors, but we want from those situations that they could have been preventable because no one should die in a violent way , that is not a natural cause, that is a violent cause that has a basis that can be addressed from a health point of view, “he said.