May 3, 2010

Domestic Abuse in Rural Areas

Think about rural crime for a minute. What do you think of? Drugs, alcohol? How about domestic abuse? Domestic disputes that start out as arguments and turn violent are common in most societies, if not all of them, but for women in rural areas this creates a special kind of dilemma. Apart from being far away from a larger city, the sense of community and that every one knows everyone can present itself as a problem. If a husband or partner presents himself as a “good ol' boy” she is not likely to be believed, and therefore unlikely to be helped. Another problem this sense of community presents is a woman risking her reputation amongst neighbors, particularly if the abuser is abusing her in a manner that leaves bruises that aren't normally visible.
Women in abusive situations in rural communities are also more often than not living to an expectation of her gender role. Many women in these situations are taught they are supposed to be supportive of their partners and to be soft-spoken and feminine. Also, typically, women who are very adherent to their gender roles do not work for pay, they are typically farmhands to their husbands, which makes getting the financial security to run very difficult. On the other end of the spectrum, however, a woman who owns her own business faces a difficult decision to leave, particularly if her business (a general store, for instance) provides her community with a service they need.
Being in an abusive situation is never easy for the individual being abused, but several conditions in rural areas make the abuse even more difficult to escape from and to cope with.
You can read more about the issue of rural domestic abuse here:

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