Since Hurricane Fiona struck September 18, the government of Puerto Rico has held more than a dozen press conferences, but in none has it provided information that helps victims and survivors of gender-based violence get specialized aid they need during the emergency, when they are most vulnerable.
In her office in Puerta de Tierra, a San Juan neighborhood, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Rodríguez answered questions from the Gender Investigative Unit, of the Center for Investigative Journalism and Todas.
The presence and access to firearms increases the risk and lethality in situations of sexist violence. At a time when a proposal to make access to weapons on the island even more flexible is on the table, we analyze the available data, from the experience of gender violence.
Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism and feminist media outlet Todas launched the Gender Investigative Unit, a new collaborative project that seeks to produce in-depth investigations and reports aimed at changing the reality of systemic gender violence in Puerto Rico and train journalists from the island to do better coverage of these issues.
The number of police officers who have been arrested for domestic violence and sexual assault, or how many officers have been convicted for gender violence are undisclosed statistics, although they were requested in early April from the Police by journalists Cristina del Mar Quiles and Syra Ortiz-Blanes of the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) and of El Nuevo Herald and the Miami Herald, respectively. After many unsuccessful follow-up efforts, the petition is now before the San Juan Superior Court after a request for mandamus was filed on Tuesday to obtain this public information from the Department of Public Security and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau. “At a time when the island has been sunken under a deep wave of gender violence cases, in which even the work of our public institutions has been questioned, few issues are of greater public interest than what’s reflected in these requests for information that are the matter of this legal recourse,” the mandamus establishes. “There are actions by the Government of Puerto Rico against gender violence that have nothing to do with creating new laws or making new plans, but with the obligation of the Government itself to comply with current laws, and this is a great example. Collecting and publishing reliable data and having it available and up-to-date is something that’s already the duty of security agencies,” said Carla Minet, executive director of the CPI.