Verbal abuse hurting rural women
Rural women suffering from verbal violence from partners often feel there is no way out because of their ties with children, animals and a farm property.
Ruapehu-whanganui Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Lyn Neeson said physical violence was more commonly seen as abuse, but rural women also endured verbal anguish from partners.
‘‘We’re not talking physical violence, but mental violence, which can go on for years,’’ she said at a a Women’s Wellbeing Event attended by 16 women at Ohakune on Wednesday.
‘‘It is different for rural women. They can’t go out and get a job, often they have no independent income, and their asset is tied up in the farm, so they stay.’’
The wellbeing workshop, part of five events nationally, was supported by Rural Women New Zealand with a counsellor and police talking about the impact of mental anguish.
Neeson said women might be responsible for some farm animals and fear they might not be cared for if they left.
She said women often talked to other women, unlike many men, and often it enabled them to go back and cope ‘‘a bit longer’’.
‘‘There are resources there, Women’s Refuge, the police, but there is a stigma attached to going for help to them, for many rural women.’’
Neeson said the women would know verbal abuse was not right but they were often scared about leaving.
She said the workshop was not about people leaving, but getting help.
Despite being able to talk about their problems, many women were out of their depth when it came to accepting help.
Neeson said men who were over 40 and had worked hard physically, were susceptible to changes in their emotions, and that could be the cause of depression or frustration which could lead to verbal abuse.
She said many women would feel the pressure of staying on a farm, because of the children who could be the fourth or fifth generation working the property.
Most of the impetus on rural mental health was focussed on men and women’s mental health was an unseen issue. She said rural women were seen as the strong ones and often that wasn’t the case.
Read more at Stuff.co.nz via Ruapehu Press Facebook page.
Fiona Gower says isolation is a major factor for rural women. She at the helm of Rural Women New Zealand.