In Puerto Rico, Law 74 against economic violence was approved in July 2023. The law is an amendment to the original Law 54, known as the law for prevention and intervention of domestic violence. It works to help women identify their rights and identify signals of economic violence.
This is helpful in the fight against gender-based violence in Puerto Rico, where solutions to the crisis are sorely needed.
Economic violence as a type of gender-based violence is identifiable as follows:
- Diminishing a partner’s financial freedom in the present and the future.
- Withholding information related to important payments.
- Influencing the financial decisions of someone.
- Interfering with the person’s income source, like their proper wife’s business.
- Using the partner’s finances for your own benefit and sabotaging the partner’s chance to pursue a higher education
Apart from the law against economic violence, there have been other attempts to prevent gender-based violence on the islands.
In 2023, the state of emergency because of high femicide cases in Puerto Rico, originally declared in 2021, ended. This state of emergency was put into place as a result of the rising amount of femicide cases.
So, what does this mean in the context of gender-based violence in Puerto Rico? In 2020, femicide cases were at a high as a result of the pandemic, when 618 women were victims of violence. Compared to recently, in 2022, only 254 women were victimized. Efforts to lower violence seem to bear fruit. There is also a connection between natural disasters in Puerto Rico and gender-based violence.
The issue, however, is far from solved. Gender-based violence affects women the most. Recent statistics reveal how, in every police region of Puerto Rico, from 2016 to 2022, women were the victim in at least 78% of the cases. This disproportionate pattern across the territory exemplifies a need for continued attention to this matter as we head toward commemorating International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in 2023.