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Case Study of Community-Based Responses to Rural Woman Battering

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 8 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 845-872
Nikki R. Van Hightower; Joe Gorton
Claire M. Renzetti
Date Published
July 2002
28 pages
This article presents a case study of interventions in woman battering in a rural Texas county examining the extent to which community-based interventions addressed survivors’ perceived needs and political factors that influenced service delivery.
In conducting an analysis of data collected during intensive interviews with a sample of women survivors of intimate partner violence and an array of community-based service providers, this case study addressed intimate partner violence against women in a rural Texas county. The study attempted to provide a critical analysis of how patriarchal values intersected with political factors to influence domestic violence interventions on behalf of rural battered women. Three themes were revealed in the analysis of survivors’ perceptions of peace officer interventions: survivors’ belief that law enforcement protection in Birdsall County was inadequate, the need to be treated more courteously and respectfully by law enforcement officials, and to be fully informed by officers about their legal options. The findings from interviews with criminal justice officials confirmed survivors’ perceptions of their unmet needs. The view among law enforcement interviewees was that victims and suspects should be afforded the same degree of protection. One significant finding resulting from interviews with criminal justice officials was a tendency to blame victims of intimate violence for not doing enough to prevent their abuse. Community service providers were not involved in or aware of any noncriminal justice programs designed to prevent or reduce intimate partner violence in the county. The key finding in this study was that in Birdsall County criminal justice officials and other providers seemed alienated from the lived experiences and expressed needs of victims of intimate violence. Study implications for survivors and researchers indicate that without the development of grassroots advocacy, the sociopolitical ethos that supports victim blaming and inadequate service delivery would not change significantly and there is the need to focus more attention on the politics and policies of rural woman battering. References