The book Dangerous Exits: Escaping Abusive Relationships in Rural America is a very important book which deals with the terror faced by many women in rural America in their own homes and the book itself is a very valuable contribution to the Violence Against Women issues by addressing the three common areas which are found in gender-based violence, namely divorce/separation violence, the general experiences of the rural women, and sexual violence like the intimate partner sexual violence. The book was written by DeKeseredy Walter a criminology professor in UOIT (University of Ontario Institute of Technology), Martin Schwartz a sociologist professor, and Joseph Donnermeyer in 2009.
This book’s target audience are criminologists, women scholars and students, activists, practitioners and policy makers. The stated goals of the authors of the book was to shatter all the myths about rural American women, for example, that they live in idyll of home and hearth. Other goal was to reveal the analytic understanding of the dangers that women face as they are abused. Social and geographic isolation deteriorates situation and it is a common characteristics of the many American rural communities.
Violence against women has been widely spreading in rural America for many decades and has gained a lot of attention from the policy makers, scholars, and general public. Social scientists have made a great contribution to the theoretical understanding as they focused attention on the women victimization. Because of sexual abuse, women are willing to leave behind their hostile and abusive partners. The rural communities are the worst hit with the most cases of victimization of women.
Dangerous Exits is a qualitative study which examines the psychological, physical, and sexual violence experienced by the American rural women in a process of leaving the abusive intimate partners. Some of these stories are very touching, heart breaking, insightful, eloquent, sad, and uplifting. The women shared their stories about their abusive partners and how it was dangerous to quit the abusive relationships.
This book fits within the context of other related material which is covered in this course. The main reason for this is because the book is a very good companion to a graduate course level or an upper undergraduate level student. The book tries to identify all the hidden crimes of psychological mistreatment of women, economic blackmail crimes, and the relationships which exist between abuse and patriarchy (p. 25). The authors of the book have tried to give voice to the women who have suffered terribly in silence and also tried to find effective solutions as to how these assaults and abuses of the women can be stopped and avoided.
The book attempts to answer the question ““Does Dangerous Exits contributes to building a clear model for the interaction of patriarchal control, sexual abuse, and community complicity in rural areas?” The main objectives of this book were addressing the complexities and the risk factors which are associated with the separation and divorce.
The author of the book used the feminist methodology to achieve his objectives. He was able to highlight the area which was in most cases under-researched and an area which was neglected for a very long time concerning the battered women who were living in the rural areas and how they were able to stop the abusive relationships. The author acknowledged the global problem and the risk factors which were associated with separation and the divorce in 3 Ohio rural communities. He brought out a case of 43 women who were in the abusive relationships or marriage by leaving the abusive husband or abusive male partner. The information about these women helped in bringing out the foci of the book.
The authors created screen questions by the development of structured interview schedules which were aimed at obtaining the representative samples and they used multitude methods to solicit women from participation. After collecting all the data that was required in the study, the authors presented the information in a summary of tables which compared the nonsexual abuse and the separation and divorce sexual abuse (pp. 62-63).
The important questions that the book raised are:
What drives men to become abusive?
Should men be in charge of and control domestic household settings?
How can you reduce the incidence of separation and divorce sexual assault in the rural areas?
This book contributed to understanding of the rural American society and it deserves a very special place in the new scholarship on rural crime since it calls for an immediate action and pushes for a policy change. The book has also made a very valuable contribution to the Violence Against Women by covering the separation and divorce violence, the experiences that these rural women undergo, and sexual violence in general.
This book attempts to resolve problems and issues which are related to separation and divorce sexual abuse in rural America. The rural America has been very notorious for sexual abuse committed by the men. In most of the cases abusers are people with low level of education and deeply religious who always think that the woman should obey her husband in all situations without any questions. This caused women abuse. The unemployment rate in the rural America is also very high. That is why most of the women and men have to spend time at homes. Monotonous work and lack of money lead to frustration which all too often results in women abuse.
The weakest point of the book is the final chapter where the authors committed to the collaborative feminist research interviewed the heroes on how the incidence of the assault could be prevented. The story of the woman who was abused in front of the neighbor who did nothing to help her is very discouraging to the reader (p. 11). The reader would thinkg that there are no ways to stop the violence and it can be very discouraging if the reader is a woman who has been a victim of such violence. This shows that there are no rules and regulations to stop these sexual violence and abuses.
The strongest point of this book is that it includes real stories told bywomen from the rural Ohio community in America. The book includes the views of women victims of the separation and divorce sexual assault and the authors were able to write the stories of how they were abused and how they stopped this sexual assault. This book gives the women who have been victims of sexual violence commited by the men whom they were married to or lived with a new hope. This is vivdly seen in the story of the woman who was asked of how she thought about her experiences as a victim. She was very courageous and had a will to buid her life vowing that no man was going to stop her in accomplishing her dreams since she would rather cut off his hand than refuse from her dreams (p. 83). This shows that the book can enable the victims to live a new life, be courageous and strong after leaving the abusive partners. It is a source of inspiration to the women victims.
The questions and concerns that the author of the book raised in my mind is that it is very possible to quit an abusive life from an abusive husband or abusive partners as it is the case in very many rural communities in America. According to the study which was carried out by DeKeseredy and Shwartz, the main reason why the separation and divorce sexual assault rate is very high in the rural areas is that most of the victims were poor and lived in poverty stricken areas with numerous cases of illiteracy, which explained why the women were abused by their partners.
On my opinion, there is the need for future research to be conducted in this area. The reason why I think so is that DeKeseredy’s and Shwartz’s ideas which are about the culture of the male peer support for the assaults and the abuse should be fleshed out to develop a set of policy proposals which are more robust and which are grounded on the rural life realities.