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Dangerous Exits

Escaping Abusive Relationships in Rural America

Walter S. DeKeseredy and Martin D. Schwartz

Publication Year: 2009

Strikingly, scant attention has focused on the victimization of women who want to leave their hostile partners. Dangerous Exits, a 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.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: Critical Issues in Crime and Society


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pp. vii-x

Dangerous Exits speaks 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. ...

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pp. xi-xii

Since the 1970s, social scientists have greatly enhanced an empirical and theoretical understanding of various types of woman abuse in ongoing heterosexual relationships, such as dating, cohabitation, and marriage. Still, although we know that breaking up with a patriarchal and/or abusive man is one of the most dangerous events in a woman's life, ...

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pp. xiii-xviii

In addition to receiving funds to conduct the study reported in this book from the National Institute of Justice,Walter DeKeseredy obtained financial assistance from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Vice President of Research at Ohio University. Arguments and findings included in this book are ours and do not represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice or Ohio University. ...

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Chapter 1: The Dark Side of the Heartland

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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. ...

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Chapter 2: Thinking Theoretically about Separation and Divorce Sexual Assault

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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. ...

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Chapter 3: The Study: Doing Feminist Research in the Hearthland

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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. ...

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Chapter 4: Exiting Dangerous Relationships: Rural Women's Experiences of Abuse and Risk Factors

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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. ...

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Chapter 5: The Consequences of Abuse and Women's Social Support Experiences

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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: ...

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Chapter 6: Where Do We Go From Here? Research, Theory, and Policy

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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. ...

Appendix A. Seperation/Divorce Sexual Assault Screen Questions

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pp. 127-130

Appendix B. Semi-Structured Interview Schedule

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pp. 131-136


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pp. 137-142


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pp. 143-160


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pp. 161-166

E-ISBN-13: 9780813548609
E-ISBN-10: 0813548608
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813545189
Print-ISBN-10: 0813545188

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 2 tables
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Critical Issues in Crime and Society
Series Editor Byline: Edited by Raymond J. Michalowski See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 593295666
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Dangerous Exits

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Wife abuse -- Ohio -- Case studies.
  • Sexual abuse victims -- Ohio -- Case studies.
  • Sociology, Rural -- Ohio -- Case studies.
  • Patriarchy -- Ohio -- Case studies.
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