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  • Author or Editor: Walter DeKeseredy x
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Interdisciplinary empirical and theoretical work on violence against rural women has mushroomed since the turn of the century. Heavily influenced by the recent scholarly contributions of a few Australian feminist criminologists, the main objective of this chapter is twofold: (1) to examine what the extant social scientific literature reveals about how the social and contextual characteristics of rurality contribute to high rates of male-to-female abuse in private places and (2) to suggest new directions in empirical work. The new avenues of empirical inquiry recommended here are cross-cultural surveys, prospective and longitudinal studies, quantitative research on male-to-female psychological abuse, and studies of the extent, nature, distribution, causes and consequences of the online victimization of women living in non-metropolitan areas.

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Empirical and theoretical work on woman abuse in rural and remote places increased dramatically in the latter part of the 2010s. There is now strong international evidence showing that rural women are at higher risk of experiencing rapes, beatings and other types of male-to-female assaults than are women who reside in more densely populated area. Moreover, most of the studies and theories produced to date are informed by feminist ways of knowing and prioritise the gendered nature of woman abuse. The objectives of this chapter are twofold: to review the extant feminist social scientific literature on woman abuse in rural and remote places; and to suggest new research trajectories.

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Patriarchy and its hurtful symptoms endure around the world. Hence, it is not surprising that multi-country research consistently shows that one in three women globally will be physically or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Undoubtedly, violence against women is one of this planet’s most compelling social problems, but some groups of women are at much more likely to be targeted than others.

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Violence against women in rural and remote areas has many determinants and one of the most significant ones is ‘male peer support’. The theory arose in Canada but has international applications, based on a review of the literature by DeKeseredy. It is attachments to male peers and the resources that these men provide that perpetuate and legitimate both the online and offline victimization of women. Nearly 35 years of rigorous quantitative and qualitative empirical work shows that male peer group dynamics that encourage and rationalize various types of abuse against women are also prevalent in metropolitan locales. Likewise, male peer support is multidimensional.

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Previous studies of peer support for various types of violence against college students are heteronormative, being primarily concerned with the abuse of heterosexual women by heterosexual males. Using recent data from the Campus Quality of Life Survey conducted at a large residential college in the South Atlantic part of the US, the main objective of this paper is to help fill a major research gap by presenting data on two ways in which negative peer support contribute to sexual violence and stalking in a campus LGBTQ community. The results show that LGBTQ students are more likely to receive such support than heterosexual ones and that negative peer support predicts sexual assault and stalking among both types of students. Implications for further empirical and theoretical work are discussed, as well as some key policy issues.

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