The Women’s Affairs Advocate and Best Buy have joined forces to combat the escalating problem of domestic violence against women, of which there were 16,000 reported cases on the island last year.
“What we want to achieve with this campaign is for those women who are undergoing some type of situation with their partner to call our emergency line to orient her and get her help, if necessary,” Women’s Advocate Wanda Vázquez-Garced said during a news conference at Best Buy’s Hato Rey store.
Through the collaboration agreement signed Wednesday with Best Buy’s Women’s Leadership Forum, known as WOLF, the government and the retailer will launch a series of in-store workshops to address the social problem, Vázquez-Garced said.
“Alliances such as these between the government and the private sector have an incalculable value, as we’re able to reach a critical mass of people that may come to the store to pick something up, but stay to participate in the workshops,” Vázquez-Garced noted.
“We want them to know that there is a number where they can call for help, whether it’s the victim of domestic violence, or someone who is witness to such an act,” she said, referring to the 787-722-2977 hotline.
In 2010, there were 19,000 protective orders requested at the Puerto Rico Police Department, the public official said.
In her presentation to a group composed mostly of Best Buy’s female workforce, Vázquez-Garced held back from attacking the island’s male population, saying that in general, “the Puerto Rican man is good, responsible and a good provider. They are not abusers.”
Still, the agency wants to teach men on alternatives to being aggressive against women, like walking way from the relationship, she said.
Meanwhile, Carmen Caraballo, a store manager, said Best Buy’s WOLF program participants will work as spokeswomen for the campaign.
“As a private company, we have a responsibility to our employees and our community. Best Buy will serve as a support center for the Women’s Advocate Office,” Caraballo said, noting WOLF will support the workshops scheduled to begin the last weekend in May and run through July.