What you should know about gender-based violence in rural communities

What you need to know about gender based violence in rural communities

Violence against women is pervasive and can happen to women anywhere and of any background, although some women are at greater risk. In previous posts, we’ve discussed the importance of using an intersectional lens when looking at the affects of gender-based violence, specifically in the context of systemic racism. This post will look at the affects of gender-based violence in rural communities. 

Quick Facts about gender-based violence in rural communities

  • In 2019, women living in rural areas of the provinces of Canada experienced rates of intimate partner violence that were almost twice as high as women living in urban areas. (Source: Women and Gender Equality Canada)

  • Increased violent crime rates and firearm ownership: From 2017 and 2020, Ontario femicides committed using a firearm was significantly higher in small and rural communities. (Source: VAW Learning Network)’

  • Increased barriers to accessing services; many rural communities do not have as many (if any) services for survivors.

Gender-based violence in rural communities: a local example

Let’s look at Renfrew. 23 women have died after intimate-partner violence since the 1970s in this community. Lack of housing, resources, and access to financial support were all barriers to support for these women in Renfrew.

Peter Jaffe, a psychologist and director emeritus of the Center for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children at Western University, said in a CBC News report on what’s happened in Renfrew, “When it comes to domestic violence, if you’re a woman, you’re at much greater danger in a rural community.”

Community-based services are critical to supporting survivors of gender-based violence in rural communities

If services to support survivors are available, they may have trouble accessing them. This could be due to many barriers including lack of transportation, lack of privacy, and conflict of interest of those providing the services as many rural communities are tight-knit and the abuser could be easily known.

Shelter Movers Ottawa helps remove some of the barriers that survivors face when leaving abuse. We provide moving and storage services free of cost to families fleeing violence, with the hope of alleviating some of the burden and uncertainty, to make a difficult decision a little bit easier.

Learn more about Shelter Movers Ottawa, and follow on social media to stay informed about our work and how you support survivors of abuse.

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