Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Dangerous Exits

Dangerous Exits: Escaping Abusive Relationships in Rural America

Walter S. DeKeseredy
Martin D. Schwartz
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 272
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Dangerous Exits
    Book Description:

    Decade after decade, violence against women has gained more attention from scholars, policy makers, and the general public. Social scientists in particular have contributed significant empirical and theoretical understandings to this issue.

    Strikingly, scant attention has focused on the victimization of women who want to leave their hostile partners. This groundbreaking work challenges the perception that rural communities are safe havens from the brutality of urban living. Identifying hidden crimes of economic blackmail and psychological mistreatment, and the complex relationship between patriarchy and abuse, Walter S. DeKeseredy and Martin D. Schwartz propose concrete and effective solutions, giving voice to women who have often suffered in silence.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4860-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Joseph F. Donnermeyer

    Dangerous Exitsspeaks to the plight of rural women (and women everywhere) in abusive relationships. Walter DeKeseredy and Martin Schwartz vividly describe the ways in which rural culture and rural society (and culture and society everywhere) can enable these forms of violence to both emerge and persist. Further, this work passionately advocates for ways that rural communities (and all places, everywhere) can and should respond to a social problem covered up by layers of traditional and anachronistic assumptions about the roles of women and men in society, by the skewed and biased responses (and often, no response) of some rural...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. Chapter 1 Introduction: The Dark Side of the Heartland
    (pp. 1-26)

    In early June 2008, as we finished this book, U.S. senators Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama were energetically competing for the Democratic presidential nomination. Not surprisingly, journalists repeatedly asked them pointed questions about their positions on the war in Iraq. They also frequently queried Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain about his stand on this controversial war. As we appreciate the sacrifice of the many U.S. troops who have been killed and injured serving their country in Iraq, a war not likely to end soon, let us not forget the plight of U.S. soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. “Hostiles” in both...

  7. Chapter 2 Thinking Theoretically about Separation and Divorce Sexual Assault
    (pp. 27-46)

    North American data on the prevalence of separation and divorce sexual assault may not be plentiful, but the limited amount available shows that just before, during, and after terminating a relationship with a spouse or cohabitor are dangerous times.¹ As an abused woman interviewed by journalist Tracy Huffman explained, “Leaving was only a small part. What I had to face afterward was much bigger” (2005). Many other women had, and continue to have, similar experiences. For example:

    Eight percent of the wife rape survivors in Russell’s (1990) San Francisco survey were assaulted after their marriages ended, and 7 percent were...

  8. Chapter 3 The Study: Doing Feminist Research in the Heartland
    (pp. 47-60)

    In her 1997 article “Confessions of a Reformed Positivist: Feminist Participatory Research as Good Social Science,” University of Dayton sociologist Claire Renzetti, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading feminist experts on violence against women, describes how the undergraduate and graduate research methods courses she was required to take strongly emphasized the use of “unbiased, objective” techniques of gathering and analyzing quantitative data. She is definitely not alone, especially in the United States, where positivism dominates social scientific inquiry.¹ Our own educational experiences, referred to by some feminist scholars (e.g., Meda Chesney-Lind) as being restricted to learning...

  9. Chapter 4 Exiting Dangerous Relationships: Rural Women’s Experiences of Abuse and Risk Factors
    (pp. 61-80)

    Based on their analysis of data generated by the first U.S. National Family Violence Survey, Murray Straus, Richard Gelles, and Suzanne Steinmetz (1981, 32) argued that the “marriage license is a hitting license.” Their thesis includes two contentions: (1) marriage is a special institution that places women at high risk of being physically assaulted by their husbands, and (2) married women are more likely to be beaten than are unmarried women. If we accept their argument, then the logical solution to wife abuse and other forms of male-to-female victimization is for these women to exit their relationships. If they were...

  10. Chapter 5 The Consequences of Abuse and Women’s Social Support Experiences
    (pp. 81-95)

    Jane, the woman Susan Lewis writes of in the chapter epigraph, did not participate in our study and is not a survivor of separation or divorce sexual assault, and we do not know the rural area where her husband’s cousin raped her. But her experiences are similar to those of many women we interviewed. A number of barriers indeed exist to such rural women receiving social support services. As Logan et al. (2004, 56) point out: “Rural areas have fewer available services and the few that do exist must cover large geographic areas, the quality and consistency of staff are...

  11. Chapter 6 Where Do We Go from Here? Research, Theory, and Policy
    (pp. 96-126)

    Data presented throughout this book and gathered by a small number of urban wife rape studies show that exiting or trying to exit a marital or cohabiting relationship increases women’s chances of being sexually assaulted, especially if the women are connected to patriarchal or abusive men. However, there is still much that we do not know about the problem of separation and divorce sexual assault in rural and urban communities. Obviously, much more empirical and theoretical work is needed. It is also necessary to develop policies and practices that meet the unique needs of women who are terrorized by the...

  12. Appendix A. Separation/Divorce Sexual Assault Screen Questions
    (pp. 127-130)
  13. Appendix B. Semi-Structured Interview Schedule
    (pp. 131-136)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 137-142)
  15. References
    (pp. 143-160)
  16. Index
    (pp. 161-165)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 166-166)