The women’s attorney, Lersy Boria Vizcarrondo, called on public agencies and officials to support the work of the Office of the Women’s Ombudsman (OPM) and stop using gender-based violence as a “narrative stick for political progress -partisan ”.
Boria Vizcarrondo ruled that both the proposed legislation and the state of emergency approved and declared by La Fortaleza – and for which a response is still awaited – must include funds for its implementation.
“Since I have been in the attorney general’s chair, I have seen how candidates for political positions address the issue of gender violence for the sole purpose of their particular interests and partisan politics. This is a human rights issue. The problem of gender violence is being minimized and there are very few of us who wake up day by day with the faithful commitment to eradicate it, ”she said.
Among the challenges highlighted by the attorney, she pointed out the reduction in personnel and funds during the past years. As he explained, the OPM had 56 employees for 2009. As of 2019, the office only has 17 career employees, which represents a 70% reduction in personnel.
Regarding the funds allocated, the OPM has asked the central government and the Fiscal Control Board for a budget increase. She argues that, from 2016 to the present, the office has had a reduction of approximately $ 1 million.
In Puerto Rico, 52.4% of the population in Puerto Rico are women, of which 21.3% are heads of household.
On that basis, Boria Vizcarrondo said that he supports any measure that allocates recurring funds to improve service to surviving victims. She explained that the surviving victims of gender violence that the OPM attends include cases of sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking, domestic or workplace violence, breastfeeding, as well as secondary victims (sons and daughters).
Boria Vizcarrondo pointed out that inter-agency collaboration is also of utmost importance, for which he requests the implementation of inter-agency groups and working groups in order to design concerted actions that respond to the needs of victims and survivors of violence; information campaigns on prevention lines; and educational campaigns in a collaborative effort to educate about the manifestations of violence in relationships.
It also seeks to establish collaborative agreements for an education campaign that appeals to all sectors of the population, in conjunction with various organizations, agencies and information media.
On the other hand, the attorney seeks support to strengthen the units that work on crimes of sexual assault and gender violence; the review of protocols and actions related to the attention of cases of domestic violence and sexual assault; as well as training and support programs aimed at issues of resilience, awareness of gender violence, management of emotions, stress and aggressive behaviors in officers and supervisors.
“Violence is a social problem that afflicts us all; it is not eradicated with a tweet, with a press conference, political debate or even with legislation that remains on paper, without allocation of funds to implement it. On the one hand, we count women and give them the only value of a number; on the other, we analyze and transmit a misogynistic message. To truly commit, we have to raise funds, invest in children, women and their families, ”she stressed.
The attorney general’s statements came after three women were murdered last week, bringing the total number of deaths from gender violence so far this year to six.
“One death is more than enough to continue working with the urgency it deserves. Let’s educate ourselves, let’s not normalize violence; Let’s implement, let’s not settle for being alarmed when the most macabre and last act that can be carried out against a woman is performed. Let’s root this out; enough is enough ”, concluded Boria Vizcarrondo.