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Rural Communities

Domestic violence effects women and people regardless of where they live. However, studies have shown that women in small, isolated rural areas reported the highest prevalence of intimate partner violence, at 22.5% and 17.9%, compared to 15.5% for urban women. Not only that, but it has been reported that women who have been abused in rural areas are more likely to be murdered than those living in cities. They also reported significantly higher severity of physical abuse than women from urban areas. Rural women are also 2.5 times more likely to have their property damaged or destroyed by a violent partner than women in urban areas. Research has shown key attributes to this issue, as well as important reasons why women do not seek help. Below these reasons are listed and included with are statistics from Schuylkill County to better understand the demographic we serve.

  • The opioid epidemic: for example, in 2019, the overdose death rate in Schuylkill County was 56.8 per 100K people, which was significantly higher than surrounding counties
  • Higher alcohol consumption: It was reported in 2012 that 11.4% of men and 4.7% of women in Schuylkill County reported that they were “heavy drinkers”
  • High levels of poverty: for reference, the poverty rate in Schuylkill County is 12.7%
  • Lack of employment opportunities: As of December 2021, the unemployment rate in the county was 4.3%
  • Higher levels of gun ownership: In 2020, the Pennsylvania State Police concluded that there were over 18,338 guns sold to Schuylkill County residents
  • Family connections/”small town” talk and the fear of a damaged reputation
  • Afraid confidentiality will not be protected
  • The lack of public transportation, as well as the lack of services such as Uber/Lyft
  • Unreliable internet/phone service
  • Police & emergency services may have to travel longer distances
  • Women in rural areas are less likely to have access to employer-based health insurance compared to their urban counterparts
  • Over 25% of women in rural areas live more than 40 miles from the closest DV program, compared to less than 1% of women who live in urban areas

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