Puerto Rican flag in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

By Alexia Rauen

Like much of the world, Puerto Rico has been plagued by the epidemic of violence against women, and in January 2021, Puerto Rico’s governor Pedro Pierluisi issued a State of Emergency in response. In May 2021, Puerto Ricans took to the streets in protest after two femicides occurred. Andrea Ruiz was murdered by her ex-boyfriend Miguel Ocasio after being unable to obtain a protective order, and Keishla Rodriguez was murdered by boxer Felix Verdejo after confessing to him she was pregnant with his child. The outrage over gender violence has reached even Bad Bunny, the Puerto Rican trap artist, whose video for “Solo De Mi” shows a woman growing progressively bruised and bloody before leaving the stage in what the viewer assumes is her leaving her abuser. But for many women in Puerto Rico, there are few options or protections for those desperately trying to leave. According to NBC News, the courts in Puerto Rico denied 68% of protective orders requested in the last nine months.