At a time when Puerto Rico is heading to close the year with almost twenty femicides intimate, the organization Ruth Home announced this Tuesday the opening of a transitional shelter that will have four apartments equipped to receive survivors of gender violence.
Lisdel Floresexecutive director of Hogar Ruth, explained that the initiative was subsidized with an allocation of $465,000 from the federal Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program.
“This unit has four fully equipped and divided apartments,” said Flores. “The important thing is that no survivor is left waiting or afraid of being killed because they don’t know where they are going to end up,” declared.
The feminist leader explained that a victim can spend 90 days in an emergency shelter, while the new one, of a temporary nature, allows the stay to be extended up to one year.
“One of the biggest fears is, ‘where am I going, what is going to happen to me.’ Please know that we have thought about all those things and, that is why a space like this is being inaugurated. And also thinking about those victims who have other particular needs for work or study, and who want to continue with their lives, they do not want to stop them even for a moment, and they do not have to stop them,” he stated.
He added that they hope to receive, in December, the first participants in space. The new day does not reveal the location of the shelter for the safety of the victims.
For her part, the secretary of the family Department, Cieni Rodriguez Trochehighlighted the need for this model of transitional shelters – the first of its kind – to open in other areas of the island, particularly in the central area, where he recognized a “lack of services.”
“The reality is that we would hope that models like this would not be necessary. The reality is that, as long as the situation of violence continues, we have to identify spaces that, in addition to physical security, tends toward emotional security, so that the person feels that they can restart their life free of violence.”he highlighted the recently confirmed head of Family.
Regarding the profile of the survivors who will be able to benefit from the transitional shelter, Flores commented that the only aspect they will take into consideration will be the “danger level” of each participant. In the event of an “imminent” risk or threat of death, the first option will be emergency shelter.
Each individual apartment in the structure has a bedroom, bathroom, living room, dining room and kitchen, as well as appliances such as a stove and refrigerator. Participants will be able to stay in the shelter with their children.
“One is too many”
According to him Gender Equality ObservatoryAs of November 14, 19 intimate femicides had been recorded, that is, violent deaths of women and girls at the hands of an intimate partner or former partner. The victims were between 24 and 66 years old.
“We are in a constant state of emergency, we have not diminished that state of emergency. With great sadness, I have to say that we have tried to articulate efforts, but in some sectors there has been will and in other sectors there has been no will. It is a question of implementation, because we have the laws, we have the measures, the agencies and the organizations, but, to the extent that we cannot, from the different entities -Police, Justice, Education, Family-, do some efforts that come with that will, we are not going to take any steps forward,” Flores pointed out.
The years 2021 and 2022 closed with 15 intimate femicides each. In 2020, 18 were registered. The state of emergency due to gender violence was decreed in 2021.
Among its eight service programs, Hogar Ruth served 6,849 people last year, including women and their daughters and sons. Additionally, the emergency shelter can serve between 269 and 325 victims in a year, “and that’s a lot,” Flores said.
“(2023) is one of the most relevant years in terms of murders of women that we have experienced. And I think one (victim) is one too many. I would live in a state of emergency even with one, because one is too many. “No one should die at the hands of their partner, or no one should be afraid to arrive at the place where it is supposed to be safest, which is their home, to think that they are going to be murdered there,” she lamented.