SAN JUAN – The number of cases of sexual aggression in Puerto Rico has declined by more than half over the past five years, in large part thanks to the growing awareness among women of their rights.
“We’re observing a greater resistance on the part of women,” clinical psychologist Maria Ward, the director of the Rape Victims Aid Center, told EFE coinciding with the celebration of Sexual Assault Awareness Month on the island.
According to Ward, 2,467 women in Puerto Rico suffered some kind of sexual assault in 2010, a figure that in 2015 had been reduced by 57 percent to 1,057.
Among those cases of sexual violence were sexual attacks, lewd acts, incest, child pornography and stalking, harassment, sexual abuse of minors younger than 14, as well as conjugal assaults.
Lewd acts were the type of sexual assault that predominated in 2014 in Puerto Rico, police say, representing 55 percent of the total number of cases.
Ward presented the figures during a presentation at the Universidad Metropolitana in San Juan.
“We’re seeing that there is greater resistance to sexual harassment on the street. There exists a more defensive attitude on the part of women, who are more aware of their rights in public places and on the street. They don’t tolerate being approached and they know how to respond,” Ward said.
Mario Marazzi, the director of the Puerto Rico Statistics Institute, said during the presentation of the figures that a considerable percentage of the sexual violence on the island is still not reported to police.
“The statistics of the criminal justice system in Puerto Rico are never going to be able to describe the real problem of sexual violence completely. To do that, a victimization survey is needed, but there isn’t one,” Marazzi said.