ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Advocacy and Accountability Project is an initiative born out of the pressing need to address the systemic flaws within the Puerto Rican justice system that help to perpetuate gender-based violence and sexual assault. Inspired by Karla Hernandez's relentless, yet fruitless pursuit of justice after being brutally attacked and sexually assaulted, we are dedicated to amplifying the voices of survivors and advocating for government reforms that strengthen victims' rights and ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted and authorities are held accountable.
Give victims of gender-based violence a voice: We aim to expose the harmful imbalance between the extensive rights granted to criminal defendants and the woefully inadequate rights of victims in Puerto Rico. By highlighting this injustice, we seek to empower survivors and ensure their stories are heard and valued.
Identify and address willful neglect within the justice system: With the help of skilled researchers, we aim to shed light on the urgent need for change by examining the numbers of criminal police reports compared to rates of legal prosecutions, as well as the impact of the Puerto Rico Governor's State of Emergency. We are committed to holding law enforcement and the justice system accountable for their actions—or lack thereof.
Advocate for legislative reforms: By analyzing existing laws, policies, and protocols, we aim to pinpoint the gaps and weaknesses that perpetuate the systemic injustices faced by survivors. With evidence-based recommendations, we will strive to support legislative changes that promote transparency, enhance victims' rights, and ensure the swift and impartial adjudication of gender-based violence and sexual assault crimes.
Our Course of Action
We are assembling a dedicated team of legal and research professionals, alongside students from The University of Puerto Rico's esteemed Legal and Journalism departments.
Together, we will embark on a comprehensive work-study program to gather critical information, define the severity of the problem, and formulate evidence-based solutions.
Analysis of Rates of Gender-based Violence Crimes and Convictions: Our researchers will analyze the number of police reports filed for gender-based violence and sexual assault in Puerto
Rico over the past three years, including the processing of rape kits.
We will analyze the arrest, trial, and conviction rates and assess the impact of the Puerto Rico Governor’s State of Emergency. This research will provide a clear understanding of the problem’s magnitude
Analysis of Problems with Victims' Legal Rights: Our team will scrutinize existing laws, policies, and protocols related to gender-based
violence and sexual assault, and compare them to other states and nations, in
order to identify gaps and weaknesses that perpetuate the systemic injustices
faced by survivors and hinder the prosecution of perpetrators. Through this
analysis, we will develop recommendations for legislative and policy reforms to enhance victims’ rights, increase accountability within the justice system, and improve criminal conviction rates.
Public Awareness Campaigns: We recognize the importance of raising public awareness. Our social media and public media campaigns will highlight the systemic problems faced by victims of gender-based violence and sexual assault in obtaining justice and support. Additionally, we aim to foster greater government accountability through public engagement and education.
Advocacy for Policy Changes: Armed with evidence-based recommendations and expert guidance, we will actively engage with policymakers, community leaders, and stakeholders to advocate for policy changes. Our goal is to address the systemic legal problems that hinder the prosecution of perpetrators, strengthen victims' rights, improve access to justice, and ensure accountability.
Our End Goals
Empower victims of gender-based violence: By amplifying their voices, we strive to ensure survivors feel heard, supported, and empowered throughout their journey to justice and healing.
Expose and address systemic flaws: Identify legal flaws and evidence of
neglect within the criminal justice system, fostering transparency and
accountability, and recommending solutions.
Encourage systemic reforms: Based on our research recommendations, we will support legislative and policy reforms that
strengthen victims' rights, promote transparency, and ensure a fair and just legal framework for the adjudication of these crimes.
Foster a supportive community: We aim to create a community of survivors, providing hope, healing, and resources for those who have experienced gender-based violence and sexual assault. Together, we can rebuild lives and challenge societal norms.
The People Behind Vivo Alliance
Karla Hernandez and Gerald Ericksen,
married for 11 years, are passionate activists in the fight against gender-based violence and sexual assault, and the driving force behind Vivo Alliance.
Karla's firsthand experience as a survivor and Gerald's experience alongside her in their fight for justice, as well as their dedication to addressing unmet human needs, have shaped their commitment to this cause and helped prepare them to be agents of change.
Together, they are striving to amplify the urgency for reform, challenge societal norms, and inspire others to take action.
Vivo Alliance is proudly partnered with Integro Foundation,
a Puerto Rico 501c3/1101 non-profit organization. They are our legal
and fiscal agent in this project, and as such all donations made
are 501c3 tax deductible and qualify under the Act 60 exemption.
(Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S. and subject to its tax laws).
Your support and donations are crucial to driving our mission forward. Join us in creating a future where victims are heard and supported, their rights are upheld, and perpetrators are brought to justice. Together, we can make a difference.