Puerto Rico Announces State of Emergency

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Protests in Puerto Rico Photo Credit: Mari B. Robles López

Margaux White , Op-Ed Editor

On January 23rd, only weeks after Governor Pierluisi’s inauguration, Puerto Rican government officials announce a state of emergency in response to the mass increase in gender-violence across the island.

 

Puerto Rican and international activists alike have been pushing for government action for years. As the increase in assaults, homicides, and disappearances continues, the families of victims continue to be left with countless unanswered questions.

 

Within the order, a committee of 17 selected individuals who will be responsible for aiding, educating, and rescuing the victims of violence as well as their families. This committee will give a detailed report every 30 days until July.

 

Protesters continue to march the streets, as pictured. Demanding justice for the lives taken, holding lights, signs and the Puerto Rican flag.

 

As part of this article, The Arrow has reached out to one of our school’s own student’s, Gianna Rodriguez ‘23. Rodriguez lived in Puerto Rico for twelve years, and recently came to Brebeuf after living in Spain for three years.

 

When asked “What were your initial thoughts when you first heard about the lockdown this past week?” Rodriguez responded “Having heard that 60 women, the double of last year, had been murdered due to gender violence made my heart sink.”

 

Besides the 62% increase in femicides and transfemicides in the past two years, there has been at least 5,517 reported cases of domestic violence against women in 2020 alone. Making Puerto Rico the highest “per capita rate in the world of women over 14 killed by their partners”, according to the ACLU.

 

“Hearing that the government took action and put in place the ‘estado de emergencia’ was a relief, as I thought it was overdue” said Rodriguez.

 

When asked if she and her family were fearful of traveling back to her hometown, Rodriguez responded “As women, as people, there is always the possibility of facing horrendous acts, however, I choose to believe that there will be a change brought about and that things will get better.” 

 

Continuing on, Rodriguez is asked what she believes the Puerto Rican government can do to better protect its citizens. She responds, “they need to listen to the women, the people and understand their truth.” Rodriguez said. “They need to take the chance, as they are doing, to put thought into action and deal with these incidents with efficiency and force.”

 

When asked what Rodriguez believes we as Brebeuf students can do, “I think the best way to deal with this situation is to look out for one another. Check up on each other from time to time. Educate each other and help each other become aware of situations like these.” she responds.

Protests in Puerto Rico
Photo Credit: Mari B. Robles López