Ver­bal abuse hurt­ing ru­ral women

Ruapehu Press - - Farming - JILL GALLOWAY

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.

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