Author: Francisco Maldonado Andreu is a third year law student at the George Washington University Law School. He completed his undergraduate education at Harvard University in Romance Languages and Literature and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

“This judicial ineffectiveness when dealing with individual cases of violence against women encourages an environment of impunity that facilitates and promotes the repetition of acts of violence in general and sends a message that violence against women is tolerated and accepted as part of daily life.“

Gonzalez, Monreal and Monarrez (“Cotton Field”) v. Mexico, para. 388.

This post discusses the situation of gender-based violence in Puerto Rico. On January 25th, 2021, the Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in the Island for the increase in gender-based violence over the previous few months. This post will evaluate and analyze the stipulations of the executive order to understand their validity, implications, and effectiveness in meeting its goals. I would like to explore critiques to this executive action and suggest alternate approaches to this complex issue. This topic is very important given the high rates of femicides in Puerto Rico. In 2020 there were 45 cases of femicide (intentional murder of women) in the Island. Furthermore, I think it is an opportunity to expand on a topic that is not traditionally addressed within the disaster law but can arguably be benefited by resources this body of law establishes in the United States.

I. Introduction: Violence in the context of disasters

Not commonly are gender issues addressed in the context of disaster law. In the legal context, emergencies are commonly associated with natural disasters, pandemics, civil unrest, armed conflict, terrorism, or other large-scale events that impact chunks of society indiscriminately. Nonetheless, women are often at the center of disaster recovery through the active roles they serve in the communities and family contexts.[1] Globally, women tend to have more responsibility for looking after children, providing food, and running homes than men do.[2] When support systems break down in the post-disaster context, women tend to bear an additional burdens.[3] In the context of the Asian tsunami of 2004, there were reports of sexual violence against women even during rescue efforts.[4] Safety standards were also precarious under camp conditions where toilet facilities and living quarters are forced out into the public domain. In these camps women report that difficult conditions, trauma, and unemployment contribute to increased alcoholism among men that often results in increased violence in the home.[5] For the most part, governments tend to ignore or leave unaddressed the particular needs of women in disaster and disaster recovery contexts.

Violence is commonly observed in the disaster context, as observed by the World Health Organization.[6] Disasters disrupt the physical and social environments that shape social order and can accentuate problems, including physical and mental health. Though not many studies have been done to compare violence levels before and after a disaster, it is commonly understood that the effects of disasters commonly increase individuals’, families’, and communities’ vulnerability to violence both in the short and long term.[7] Factors related to this phenomenon include: increased stress and feelings of powerlessness due to loss of relatives or friends, loss of property and loss of livelihood, mental health problems (including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, among others), the scarcity of basic provision, destruction of social networks, breakdown of law enforcement, cessation of violence prevention and other social support programs, and disruptions to the economy.[8]

Throughout recent history, increases in intimate partner violence levels have been reported across the globe including in the Philippines after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, in Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch, across several counties after the Asian tsunami of 2004, in the USA after the Loma Prieta earthquake, the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens, and Hurricane Katrina and Harvey, and in several refugee camps worldwide.[9] Being separated from friends, family, and other sources of support that may have provided protection can expose women who were already living in violent relationships to experience violence at increasing severity post-disaster. Women may be forced to rely on a perpetrator of violence and abuse for survival or access to services after a disaster. Displaced women and children are often at risk of sexual violence as they try to meet their basic needs.[10]

II. Gender-based violence in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico is not immune to these tendencies. In the context of disaster recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, different organizations observed a rise in violence against women.[11] Hurricane Maria ravished the Island, claiming the lives of thousands and leaving many without homes, stable sources of food or water, health services, and other basic necessities and services. Among these, the hurricane collapsed its electrical grid and telecommunications infrastructure for weeks and months in some communities. This also affected 911 services as well as hotlines for domestic and gender-based violence offered by the national Women’s Ombudsman’s Office (Oficina de Procuradora de las Mujeres, OPM), which were down for extended amounts of time.[12]

Different advocates that work in organizations dealing with survivors and victims of violence claim that their services and resources were in higher demand after Maria.[13] Nonetheless, official statistics did not reflect an increase in cases of gender-based violence.[14] In a report made by the Center for Investigative Journalism (Centro de Periodismo Investigativo), it is claimed that one of the reasons for the gaps in the information is that three different government agencies collect the data: the Women’s Ombudsman’s Office records requests for domestic violence services and calls to its hotline; police track reports of incidents of sexual assault and domestic violence in person and over the phone; while the courts receive criminal cases and the number of protection orders filed.[15] Because of lack of coordination or unified databases between these three entities, statistics regarding gender-based violence are generally hard to be accurately asserted.[16] Similarly, other key systems designed to prevent and respond to gender-based violence collapsed. Police officers – including those assigned to the Special Unit for Domestic Violence – were detailed to other tasks and courts responsible for handling cases of violence against women were closed.[17]

Regardless of the possible shortcomings in statistics, there are still alarming rates of incidences of gender-based violence in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Official sources state that the main crime reported during the emergency period declared after the hurricane was domestic violence.[18] Similarly, most of the cases handled by the few courts that were open were protection orders and domestic violence cases, with the judicial branch informing that during this period 442 protection orders were evaluated in courts.[19] According to the information provided by the Units Specialized in Domestic Violence of the Prosecutor’s Office, 193 criminal cases were filed for violence in the couple relationship in this period.[20] Another source claimed that calls to 911 related to domestic violence increased fourfold in the aftermath of the hurricane, but these statistics were unofficial.[21]

Historically, Puerto Rico has seen some of the highest domestic violence rates in the world.[22] Specifically, Puerto Rico had the highest per capita rate in the world of women over 14 years of age killed by their partners.[23] The report found that the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) “systematically fails to protect victims of domestic violence and to investigate reported crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, and even murders of women and girls by their partners or spouses.”[24] The ACLU found “significant delays in the adjudication of protection orders … dramatic under-enforcement of violations of protection orders; inadequate staffing … lack of adequate evidence collection and case investigation,”[25] among other issues. To make matters even more complex, of the 24 women murdered in 2018, three were murdered by police officers.[26] In cases of domestic violence reported in 2017 under Law 54 (Puerto Rico’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Law), 180 have been committed by police officers.[27]

Since 2018, feminist organizations started to demand that the governor at the moment, Ricardo Roselló, declare a state of emergency based on the situation of gender-based violence in the Island. According to the most protagonist of these organization, La Colectiva Feminista, with the governor’s emergency declaration, the government would: “establish a precedent for the level of urgency with which sexist and gendered violence should be treated. [The executive order declaring an emergency would declare] that this violence is not a private or interpersonal issue alone, but a public one created by many intervening factors that the state is responsible for taking on and working to reduce.” [28] They argued that it would also “promote the immediate allocation of funds for public agencies and nongovernmental organizations to address the crisis and allow the mobilization of the directors of public agencies to prioritize services and establish plans to work together.”[29]

  • Executive Orders 2020-078 and 2021-013

Governor Roselló met with feminist groups, but never heeded to their demands, nor did he make any modifications to the public policy of the executive branch as to how to deal with gender-based violence.[30] He was shortly afterwards implicated in a scandal, referred to as Telegramgate, when a chat among him, advisors, and members of his cabinet was leaked to the public.[31] The crude conversations among the group of high-ranking officials included strong misogynistic and homophobic language, including references of violence against female political adversaries.[32] After Roselló stepped down in August 2, 2019, the new governor Wanda Vázquez Garced (former Secretary of Justice under the Roselló administration) was met with the same demands. Vázquez signed Executive Order 2020-078 (OE 2020-078) declaring priority the “fight against violence towards women,”[33] and making official a “state of national alert” she had announced a month earlier.[34]

Against this backdrop, on January 25th, 2021, the Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi signed the executive order Orden Ejecutiva 2021-13 (OE-2021-13) declaring a state of emergency in the Island for the increase in gender-based violence over the previous few months.[35] The order also followed a campaign promise made by Pierluisi previous to his election as governor November 2020. It was also based in widespread claims by different non-governmental organizations that the national alert previously declared was not sufficient to address what they perceived as a social crisis or even pandemic of violence.[36] In its broad stipulations, the Governor appointed an officer to ensure the implementation of the order throughout the state of emergency, which will run until July 30, 2022.[37] The order also creates a committee (Comité de Prevención, Apoyo, Rescate y Educación de la Violencia de Género, PARE) composed of 17 members and participation from 3 civil organizations specializing in gender violence under the supervision of the Secretary of the Department of Family Affairs that will publish monthly reports on its work.[38]

Furthermore, it establishes that all state agencies should set apart or procure state or federal funds to implement the stipulations of the order in conjunction with the Management and Budget Office (OGP). The order includes the creation of a mobile application to report gender violence and request help, as well as the creation of media campaigns in conjunction with the private sector to educate about and eradicate gender violence. It orders the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y Comercio, DDEC) to create programs that incentivize the integration of women into the labor force, and requests collaboration from clinical programs at all law schools in Puerto Rico to offer services to victims of gender violence.

III. National Alert v. Emergency Declarations

The state of emergency declared by Governor Pierluisi has some formidable differences to the previous national alert declared by Vázquez Garced. To understand the impact of OE-2021-13, it is useful to compare it with its predecessor, the national alert declared on OE-2020-078.

The national alert can be characterized as a mandate or message aimed at expressing the public policy of zero tolerance to gender violence by the Vázquez Garced administration, with which the officials of the Executive Branch had to comply. The power to create such a national alert is not provided either in the Constitution of Puerto Rico or in other laws. However, there seem to be no issues of constitutionality or legality since this type of national alert has the force of issuing a nationwide message. Thus, like an executive order that is also not codified by the Constitution or any law, these alerts do not have the force of law as would an emergency declaration.

The Secretary of the Interior at the time, Zoé Laboy, commented during a press conference that the alert served to send a message to heads of government agencies that “[Puerto Rico has] the laws, the protocols, the regulations [to address violence against women] but, you have to strictly comply with those obligations. ”[39] Through this statement it becomes evident that the national alert was more a message addressed to the members of the Executive Branch to follow the public policy of zero tolerance against gender violence, and also, follow the protocols, regulations and laws; already in place in Puerto Rico.

On the other hand, an executive order is defined as “a mandate that the first executive gives to the components of the Executive Branch.”[40] Said mandate is generally used to promote public policies and to promote the functions in a more comprehensive manner of the person who holds the position of the government. Emergency declarations require the issuing of an executive order as means to their declaration.[41] As University of Puerto Rico Law School Professor William Vázquez Irizarry explains regarding the governor’s power to declare an emergency:

This is a prerogative provided in Article 15 of Law no. 211 of August 2, 1999, as amended, Law of the State Agency for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration of Puerto Rico. This declaration allows the Governor to, among other measures: request federal aid; issue, amend and revoke regulations; and give effect to state emergency plans. This power must be seen in conjunction with Law no. 76 of May 5, 2000 [Law on procedures for emergency situations or events], which provides that certain agencies with responsibility in the field of permits may use special procedures in case of emergencies. . . [and] may obviate the ordinary procedures in the event of a natural disaster that requires the rapid activation of restoration programs.[42]

By its mere definition, the emergency declaration serves a purpose beyond a statement of a particular policy. With it, funds can be allocated to a cause and specific action can be mandated from different agencies and sectors of government. In the case of OE-2021-013, through the emergency declaration, Pierluisi was able to designate $654,000 to the OPM in order to combat gender-based violence.[43] The emergency declaration goes beyond a merely symbolic statement and even has the force of law to mandate specific action within the executive branch.

Another key difference is the distinct terms used in referring to the issue of violence and women. The term gender-based violence (GBV, used on OE-2021-013) is a more inclusive term than violence against women (used on OE-2020-078). GBV can encompass violence against men and gender non-conforming individuals, if the violence at hand is related to their particular gender identity or presentation.[44] Violence against women is a more specific term in that it only applies to people who identify as women or female.[45] Nonetheless, gender-based violence and violence against women significantly overlap given that women are the majority of victims of gender-based violence.[46]

The Executive Order defines gender-based violence (“violencia de género”) as: “conducts that cause physical, sexual or psychological harm to another person motivated by stereotypes of gender, it refers to the opinions and prejudice based on the social functions or relationships of power of a gender over another as determined by a specific culture over men or women generally.”[47]  It further establishes that this concept of violence includes “threats, aggressions, psychological and emotional abuse, persecution and isolation, among other similar actions, which can occur in public and private spaces, and among romantic couples, employers, work colleagues or neighbors, friends, family, professors, and even unknown persons.”[48]

In line with the previous observation about the implications of the concept, it is interesting to note that these definitions on EO-2021-013 seem to apply to individuals being affected by violence or discrimination based on their gender identity regardless of what this identity may be. The Order does reference previous executive orders by the past administration of Wanda Vazquez which explicitly focus on violence against women, and also mentions the importance of effectively processing cases of gender-based violence especially against women. As mentioned before, gender-based violence is generally recognized as an issue affecting women disproportionately. Nonetheless, by not restricting its definition, the Order can function to encompass violence against trans individuals who are also subject to high rates of violence in Puerto Rico.[49] Some have nonetheless critiqued the Order for not including violence based on sexual orientation, which would include LGBTQ+ identified individuals generally and is also a widespread phenomenon in the Island.[50] Furthermore, because trans women are no explicitly mentioned in the Order, some might also interpret it as not protecting this group of individuals.

IV. Validity, implications, and effectiveness of the Executive Order 2021-013

The person who governs has an inherent power to issue executive orders, but these cannot contravene the Constitution or the laws that authorize it. The most relevant issue in the analysis of executive orders lies in determining when the orders are legally effective. For an executive order to have the force of law, it must rest on an authority conferred by the Constitution or by some law that authorizes it.[51] In the case OE-2021-013, the order refers to Article II of the Puerto Rican Constitution,[52] P.R. Law 158-2020,[53] P.R. Law 20-2017,[54] P.R. Law 217-2006,[55] among several others. Clearly the Order is thus legally effective in that it is espoused by a formidable amount of statutes that encompass the issues it seeks to address. OE-2021-013 does not seem to evoke issues of separation of powers since some of its main concerns are merely evaluating the proper and effective implementation of existing laws. The governor of Puerto Rico is legally bestowed with a lot of power, which some have pointed out can infringe on the capacities of Congress to legislate.[56]

In the context of an emergency or crisis, it is commonly understood that the executive should have the power to lead in an expedient and unified effort for the sake of urgency and efficiency.[57] This leads some to question whether or not gender-based violence can constitute an emergency situation, as stipulated by the laws of Puerto Rico.

Typically, for a governor to declare a state of emergency under the Law of Procedures for Emergency Situations or Events, [58]  the emergency or situation that motivates it must meet the definition of emergency stipulated in the law, which states that an emergency is:

Any serious abnormality such as hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, drought, fire, explosion or any other kind of catastrophe or any serious disturbance of public order or an attack by enemy forces. . . in any part of the territory of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, that merits the mobilization and use of extraordinary human and economic resources to remedy, avoid, prevent or lessen the severity or magnitude of the damage caused or that may be caused. In the same way, the term ’emergency’ includes any event or serious problems of deterioration in the physical infrastructure for the provision of essential services to the people, or that puts the life, public health or safety of the population or a sensitive ecosystem at risk.[59]

As stipulated, it is not explicitly evident that the law meant to include gender-based violence as one of the emergency situations it applies to. Critics have stated with conviction that GBV plainly does not satisfy this definition, but the matter has not been litigated.[60] Nonetheless, it can be argued that the emergency definition, especially as it is stipulated on the second sentence of the above quoted text, is indeed a broad one that generally recognizes the need for protection of life, public health, and safety of individuals. Sexual and domestic violence clearly risks the life, health, and safety of a formidable portion of the population.

It should be noted that this is not the first emergency declaration of its kind. Internationally, Uruguay issued a similar declaration in 2019.[61] In the United States, over the summer of 2020, 204 different jurisdictions across many levels (including states, municipalities, education entities, among others) declared public health crises or emergencies based on racism.[62] This trend in addressing discrimination-based violence is very recent and not much literature exists as to its real impact. Skeptics declare these as merely symbolic measure lacking real teeth.[63] Nonetheless, even their symbolic power is strong: they manifest recognition of real issues and suffering experienced by victims and survivors of these types of violence.

A powerful component of OE-2021-013 is its focus on better assessing the gravity of the situation at hand. It is key to create better systems for collection of statistics and analysis. Beyond collection of data, issues pertaining to complications with collecting this type of data and information should also be addressed. Furthermore, traditional methods of emergency management could be greatly benefited by gender-focused approaches that seek to address the unique challenges of women and girls in Puerto Rican society and post-disaster recovery. As a Caribbean island, Puerto Rico is annually exposed to severe natural phenomena that can result in catastrophic disasters. This reality might be intensified in the context of climate change and global warming. Through this emergency declaration, Governor Pierluisi sends a strong message to Puerto Rican society regarding a need for change in order to improve the living conditions of women.

While the initiative is laudable, understanding the root causes of increasing rates of gender-based violence is still of essence. The Order recognizes the necessity for a cultural shift and commits to the effort of education and eradication of ignorance and conditions of poverty, but it is hard to envision how this emergency declaration can truly and effectively tackle these conditions and norms.

V. Moving Forward

Many residents of Puerto Rico have survived several natural disasters that have impacted the island in the past 4 years. Interestingly, research studies have found that being exposed to one natural disaster might amplify the negative psychological outcomes of being exposed to a subsequent natural disaster.[64] Furthermore, people who receive social or religious support have been found less vulnerable to developing adverse psychological outcomes.[65] This points out to the essential nature of efficient and effective natural disaster response and recovery plans and action in Puerto Rico.

Some of the different policies that Puerto Rico should consider implementing in the context of disaster response, should include those established by the World Health Organization:

  • Focus should be on caring for victims of violence and on taking measures to prevent abuse and exploitation
  • Health service delivery must include care for survivors of rape. This care should include at a minimum treatment of physical injuries, pregnancy prevention, treatment for sexually-transmitted infections, and, where appropriate, HIV postexposure prophylaxis.
  • Ideally, health workers should be trained to identify victims of violence and provide care that ensures their safety, privacy, confidentiality and dignity, and victims should be referred for counselling and other services.
  • Displaced children should be registered so that children separated from their families and possibly orphaned can be identified and offered special care and protection, preferably with family members in their local communities.
  • Women’s access to resources and assistance should be ensured, and women must be made part of the response and distribution networks.[66]

During the recovery context, those assisting a community with reconstruction should take into account that the physical and social disruption caused by a natural disaster may increase the likelihood of family, sexual and other types of violence, and that previously-existing resources for victims of violence may be damaged or no longer functioning. The following steps can ensure the safety of the community and help preserve its ability to prevent and respond to violence:

  • Community networks and programmes that addressed violence before the disaster should be identified, revitalized and strengthened through training and support.
  • Efforts to address violence must engage men, women and children of the affected community in the planning phase, taking care to get input from groups who tend to be overlooked in programme development, such as abused women and persons with disabilities.
  • Violence should be included in any injury surveillance system that is established.
  • Community education and awareness campaigns are useful for informing residents how to report acts of violence, what services are available and where they can go for care.
  • Campaigns can also be used to influence social and cultural norms related to violence.[67]

The pervasiveness of violence in Puerto Rican society is only further complicated by Puerto Rico’s debt and fiscal crisis, which has caused much financial strain on government operations. Austerity measures imposed by the Fiscal Control Board have limited available funds across all government agencies and services. In 2020, earthquakes and COVID-19 outbreaks have made reaching out to women difficult and has further impacted  the economy and social welfare of the Island.

Some activists claim that the government is responsible for the spike in violence against women: “They close schools and universities, deny us quality education with an anti-sexist perspective, and impoverish us with austerity policies. Gentlemen of the government, inequality generates violence.”[68] Austerity measures have definitely complicated many Puerto Ricans’ livelihood. Furthermore, great distrust and dissatisfaction with politics and government officials permeates the general population.[69] It is thus essential for the government to rebuild trust and capacity to address the many complex issues that lead to pervasive gender-based violence.


NOTE: We do not claim ownership to the image used. The picture was taken by Ramon Tonito Zayas/ GFR Media and was accessed through ABC news on the following link

[1] Daniel Farber, James Chen, Robert Verchick, & Lisa Sun, Disaster Law and Policy 494 (3rd ed. 2015) (quoting Action Aid International, Tsunami Response: A Human Rights Assessment (January 2006)).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id. at 495.

[5] Id.

[6] World Health Org., Violence and disasters (2005),

[7] Mohsen Rezaeian, The association between natural disasters and violence: A systematic review of the literature and a call for more epidemiological studies, 18(12) J. Rsch. Med. Sci. 1103–1107 (2013),

[8] World Health Org., supra note 7.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

[11] Claire Tighe & Lauren Gurley, Después del huracán aumentan los casos de violencia contra la mujer en Puerto Rico, El Nuevo Herald (May 7, 2018, 11:36 AM),

[12] Claire Tighe & Lauren Gurley, Datos oficiales de violencia contra la mujer en Puerto Rico no son confiables después del huracán María, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (May 7, 2018, 12:01 AM), (stating that the actual amount of time these lines were down is contested from days, as claimed by the government, to weeks, as observed by organizations dealing with women issues, but interruptions in services definitely occurred).

[13] Leysa Caro González, Más vulnerables las mujeres tras el paso de María, El Nuevo Día (July 10, 2018, 12:00 AM),

[14] Tighe et al., supra note 13.

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] Refugees Int’l, Issues Brief, Hurricane María’s Survivors: “Women’s Safety Was Not Prioritized”, (Sept. 2018).

[18] Instituto Caribeño de Derechos Humanos y Clínica Internacional de Derechos Humanos de la Facultad de Derecho (CIDH), Univ. Interamericana de Puerto Rico, Justicia Ambiental Desigualdad y Pobreza en Puerto Rico at 168, (Dec. 7, 2017), (citing Leysa Caro González, Así trastocó María el funcionamiento del sistema de Justicia, El Nuevo Dia (Oct. 19, 2017)).

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Domestic Violence Soared Following Puerto Rico Hurricane, The Crime Report (Feb. 1, 2018),

[22] This was established by an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report published in 2012. See, Am. Civ. Liberties Union, Island of Impunity: Puerto Rico’s Outlaw Police Force, (June 2012),

[23] Centro Reina Sofía, Tercer Informe internacional: Violencia contra la mujer en las relaciones de pareja, estadísticas y legislación at 89, 92 (2010).

[24] Am. Civ. Liberties Union, supra note 24 at 103.

[25] Id.

[26] Gia Berrios, The Crisis of Violence Against Women in Puerto Rico, Truthout (Dec. 21, 2018),

[27] Id.

[28] Berrios, supra note 28 (quoting a statement from La Colectiva Feminista [The Feminist Collective]).

[29] Id.

[30] Manuel Guillama Capella, Sin resultados concretos reunión del gobernador con grupos feministas, Primera Hora (Jan. 14, 2019),

[31] Michael Deibert, Thousands Protest Against Puerto Rico Governor After Profane Chats Leaked, Bloomberg (July 15, 2019),

[32] Cristina del Mar Quiles, Putas y Gatitas, Noticel (July 12, 2019),

[33] Orden Ejecutiva Núm. 2020-078, Orden Ejecutiva de la Gobernadora de Puerto Rico, Hon. Wanda Vázquez Garced, para Declarar Servicios Prioritarios la Lucha Contra la Violencia a las Mujeres en Puerto Rico (26 de octubre de 2020), [Exec. Order 2020-078, Executive Order by Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vazquez Garced, Declaring to Declare Priority Services the Fight Against Violence Towards Women in Puerto Rico (Oct. 26, 2020)] (hereinafter OE-2020-078).

[34] Gobernadora decreta alerta nacional por violencia machista, El Vocero (Sept. 4, 2019),

[35] Orden Ejecutiva Núm. 2021-013, Orden Ejecutiva del Gobernador de Puerto Rico, Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi, declarando un Estado de Emergencia ante el aumento de casos de Violencia de Género en Puerto Rico (25 de enero de 2021), [Exec. Order 2021-013, Executive Order by Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi, Declaring a State of Emergency Given the Raise in Case of Gender-based Violence in Puerto Rico (Jan. 25, 2021)] (hereinafter OE-2021-013).

[36] Génesis Ibarra Vázquez, Colectiva Feminista marchará para exigir un estado de emergencia, El Vocero (Sept. 24, 2020),

[37] OE-2021-013, supra note 37 at 5.

[38] Id. at 5-8.

[39] Damaris Suárez, Justifica Laboy alerta nacional en lugar de emergencia nacional, Noticel (Sept. 5, 2019), (translated by author).

[40] William Vázquez Irizarry, Los poderes del Gobernador de Puerto Rico y el uso de órdenes ejecutivas, 76 Rev. Jur. UPR 951, 953 (2007) (translation by autor).

[41] Ley de procedimientos para situaciones o eventos de emergencia, Ley Núm. 76-2000, 3 LPRA §§ 1931-45 (2011 & Supl. 2014).

[42] Id. at 1039-40 (translation by autor).

[43] Procuraduría de las Mujeres recibirá $654 mil para combatir la violencia de género, Telemundo PR (Jan. 26, 2021),

[44] United Nations Population Fund, What is gender-based violence (GBV)?,,by%20gender%20non%2Dconforming%20people (last accessed April 30, 2021).

[45] Id.

[46] Id.

[47] OE-2021-013 at 1 (translated by author).

[48] Id. (translated by author).

[49] Dan Avery, Trans man killed amid Puerto Rico’s ‘wave of homophobic and transphobic violence’, NBC News (Jan. 14, 2021, 3:34 PM),

[50] Carmen Sesin, Activists urge Puerto Rico governor to add LGBTQ to gender violence emergency declaration, NBC News (Jan. 25, 2021, 4:20 PM),

[51] Id. at 1029.

[52] P.R. Const. Art. II, § 1 (stating that all individuals are equal upon the Law and that no discrimination shall exist based on race, skin color, sex, birth, origin or social condition, or political and religious beliefs in the context of the Law and public instruction).

[53] P.R. Law 158-2020 (Ley Orgánica de la Oficina de Gerencia y Presupuesto) [Organic Law for the Office of Management and Budget].

[54] P.R. Law 20-2017 (Ley del Departamento de Seguridad Pública de Puerto Rico) [Law of the Department of Public Security of Puerto Rico].

[55] P.R. Law 217-2006 (Ley del Protocolo para Manejar Situaciones de Violencia Doméstica en Lugares de Trabajo o Empleo) [Protocol Law for Handling Situations of Domestic Violence in Workplaces or Employment].

[56] Carmen Margarita Llull Vera, La Separación De Poderes En Puerto Rico: ¿Existe Entre Las Ramas Ejecutiva Y Legislativa?, 41 Rev. Der P.R. 275, 292–93 (2002).

[57] Alberto López Merlán, Note, Estado de Emergencia v. Estado de Alerta Nacional, In Rev

(Oct. 31, 2020),

[58] Ley Núm. 76-2000, supra note 43.

[59] Id. § 1931(a) (translation by author).

[60] López Merlán, supra note 64.

[61] Las reacciones ante la emergencia nacional por violencia de género: entre la aprobación y el pedido de medidas más concretas, La Diaria: Feminismos (Dec. 31, 2019),

[62] Am. Pub. Health Ass’n, Racism is a Public Health Crisis, (last accessed April 30, 2021).

[63] Feminicidio en Puerto Rico: 4 claves para entender qué llevó a la isla a declarar un estado de emergencia por violencia de género, BBC News Mundo (Jan. 27, 2021),

[64] Alison Salloum, Paulette Carter, Berre Burch, Abe Garfinkel, & Stacy Overstreet, Impact of exposure to community violence, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Gustav on posttraumatic stress and depressive symptoms among school age children, 24 Anxiety, Stress & Coping J. 27 (2011),

[65] Shuidong Feng, et al., Social Support and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder among Flood Victims in Hunan, China, 17 Annals of Epidemiology 827 (2007), (finding that PTSD in flood victims is significantly associated with social support; subjective support and support utilization may play more important roles in mitigating the impact of flood than objective support).

[66] World Health Org., supra note 7.

[67] Id.

[68] Berrios, supra note 28 (quoting a statement from La Colectiva Feminista).

[69] Dan Avery, Trans man killed amid Puerto Rico’s ‘wave of homophobic and transphobic violence’, NBC News (Jan. 14, 2021, 3:34 PM),