On Friday, Colectiva Feminista en Construcción, in collaboration with other Puerto Rican Feminist groups, organized a sit-in (un plantón) in front of La Fortaleza, Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s residence, to protest the killing of a woman by her husband, a police officer. During the protests, the Puerto Rican police peppered sprayed the protestors and videos surfaced of the police pushing against the crowd at the gates of La Fortaleza.
Friday began with a march in Plaza Colón and continued until the protestors reached the governor’s residence. The protest organizers created itineraries for participants, facilitating events such as a conversation about the causes and prevention of violence against women, artistic activities, concerts and drag shows. The protestors refuse to leave until the governor meets with them to discuss their demands.
An Executive Order created by the feminist organizations demands that Governor Rossello creates a National Emergency Plan against Gender Violence; more than 600 people have signed a petition for its creation. The demands also include the establishment of a specific protocol for when crimes against women occur; the implementation of an inter-agency committee to assist assault survivors; and a call to process the 2,554 untested rape kits.
In 2018 alone, 40 Puerto Rican women have been murdered, at least 22 were killed by their husbands, and police officers were the abusers in 180 reported domestic violence cases. According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) “Femicide Report 2018,” close to 87,000 women were killed worldwide this year; 58% of these women were murdered by an intimate partner or a family member, which is about 6 women every hour.
Sunday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and people around the globe marched to bring attention to and protest gender-based violence. The marches were the beginning of the 16-day activism campaign titled “Orange the World: #HearMeToo” that will last until Human Rights Day on December 10th. The campaign calls on people around the world to speak up and take a stand against violence against women. It offers ways to get involved such as listening to survivors, buying products from women entrepenuers and using your platform to advocate for others. The UN-Women campaign draws from movements such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #NiUnaMenos. Countries such as Afghanistan have previously participated in the yearly UN campaign to end violence against women, and this year Afghans are organizing street theaters to allow survivors of gender-based violence to share their stories.
Media Resources: El Volcero 11/25/18; Latino Rebels 11/25/18; Bustle 11/26/18; New York Times 11/25/18; UN Women 11/21/18; Feminist Newswire 11/25/15; Twitter 11/25/18, 11/26/18; Facebook posts by Colectiva Feminista en Construcción 11/23/18, 11/24/18 (multiple)