Challenges for Rural Women
Rural women living with violence share similar experiences with all women who encounter violence, but they face additional barriers specific to living in rural areas.
Abusers often use isolation to help maintain power and control over their partner, and for rural women the isolation becomes magnified by geography. Other factors can greatly impact a rural woman's isolation and her chances of reaching safe shelter. A woman who is isolated has a difficult time escaping from a violent partner and she often fears leaving or calling someone for help. Consider:
- A rural woman may not have phone or internet service;
- Usually no public transportation exists, so if she leaves she must take a family vehicle or find other means of transportation;
- Police and/or medical response may take a longer time;
- Rural areas have fewer resources for women, such as jobs, childcare, housing, health care or shelters. Often, easy access to them is limited by distance;
- Extreme weather such as cold, snow, and mud regularly affect life in rural areas and may extend periods of isolation with an abuser;
- Poor roads or lack of roads may make transportation difficult;
- There may be no access to ferries or planes during parts of the year due to weather conditions;
- Seasonal work may mean months of unemployment on a regular basis and result in women being trapped with an abuser for long periods;
- Hunting weapons are common to rural homes and everyday tools like axes, chains, pitchforks and saws are potential weapons in violent situations;
- Traveling to urban areas and leaving their homes may be a barrier to rural women.