By: Mirna Y. Jimenez Lucena
Three panelist’s spake the press conference on domestic violence held at Carlos Chardon Building in the University of Puerto Rico, on October 15. The main topic of the conference was domestic violence. The conference, organize by Writing for the Communications Media students, intended to raise awareness of these issues that affect many people every day in Puerto Rico.
The panelists were Prof. Luisa Seijo Maldonado and Dr. Luis Nieves Rosa, social sciences professors at UPRM, and Vanessa Díaz, Attorney at Law. They have extensive experience in the domestic violence area and addressed questions regarding domestic violence: Law 54, manipulative techniques used by abusers, panelist stated that the campus domestic violence prevention program, “Siempre Vivas Project,” among others. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that includes types of abuse from one person against another who they are in a relationship with, whether it’s marriage, cohabitation or another relationship.
Diaz mentioned that Law 54 defends victims of domestic violence and seeks to punish offenders. This law was approved in Puerto Rico 1989, originally to protect only heterosexual couples. However, in 2013 the Supreme Court passed an amendment to include homosexual couples to protect the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Transvestite community.
Dr. Nieves, who researchers domestic violence among same-sex couples and analyzes public policy and social politics in the LGBTT community, added that he became interested in the issue of domestic violence among same-sex couples when he was a counselor in a program for gay men in New York. I that position he realized that there were plenty of high-risk behaviors within the same-sex couples of men on the basis of what is identified as domestic abuse. “Because sometimes men have a fight and one forces the other and that is not always conceptualized as domestic abuse,” said Nieves citing research in the area.
Additionally, Diaz explained the process of obtaining protection orders. “When you want to ask for an order of protection, you have to go to court to a judge and tell him/her the reason why you need an order of protection. The judge evaluates the situation and chooses whether to give the protection order or cite the aggressor.”
As the five or six days he/she will be in a hearing with the aggressor in front of the judge. The judge will hear both sides of the story and evaluate the testimony of both parties and the evidence.”
Professor Luisa Seijo talked about “Projecto Siempre Vivas” and exhorted the domestic violence victims to go to the office and get help.
“Proyecto Siempre Vivas” is dedicated to help women who were or are victims of domestic violence. This project was founded in 1977 by Luisa Seijo and since then it has helped 2,037 women and many have become survivor.
“Proyecto Siempre Vivas” also helps abused men by giving them emotional support and directing them to take legal action against the offender. “Siempre Vivas” celebrates Women’s Week with a series of activities to raise awareness on the issue.
In the press conference domestic violence, many points that can help the university community if you ever face a situation thus clarified.