Ley 54 – was heralded as a great step forward in women’s rights. The right by allegation alone – to have any man arrested for spousal abuse.
Curiously enough, there are no statistics to indicate that the law has, in any way shape or form; reduced the number of women assaulted by their husbands, nor has it reduced the number of women killed by a lover.
So what has the law done? It has given women the absolute power to jail any man based on a verbal accusation alone with no physical proof what so ever.
You have seen it, I have seen it, we have all heard the stories. A couple going through a divorce and the woman calls the cops because the man won’t do what she wants him to do and she makes an accusation. He pleads, and begs the cops and he goes to jail anyway.
Whether convicted or not under the law the accusation alone tarnishes a mans reputation and gives the woman unfair advantage in civil court in cases of divorce.
I propose a simple alternative. If a woman accuses a man of assault under law 54 BOTH should be immediately arrested. If no evidence of abuse is found the woman should face a trial for false police reports and serve the maximum sentence automatically. (the same would apply to men who make false allegations).
If that change is implemented you will see a dramatic reduction in the number of alleged acts of abuse. Then maybe the police can focus on the real cases of abuse and protect people who are really being hurt.
It does of course open an entire discussion of the question of civil law in Puerto Rico and how it is applied in cases between men and women, but that is a discussion for another day.