Women's experiences of intimate partner violence in rural Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand
INTRODUCTION: Traditionally, research about intimate partner violence has focused on urban areas and has been urban-centric. However, there are some components of intimate partner violence in rural communities which are different and social workers need to be aware of these variances. METHODS: The findings presented in this article were drawn from a doctoral study in which 23 women and five men were interviewed using a qualitative approach. Alongside these interviews, key informants in the rural Taranaki district were consulted, a fieldwork journal kept and photographs taken. The data were analysed using applied thematic analysis. FINDINGS: Patriarchy was a distinct aspect of the intimate partner violence experienced by the women who participated in this study and part of the back-drop to their lives. Hegemonic masculinity was a powerful contributor to the intimate partner violence experienced by some study participants. Geographic isolation was exploited as an aspect of control in intimate partner violence among the women, and women had difficulty accessing services. CONCLUSION: It is important for social workers, in order to practise competently, to have an awareness of the impact of patriarchy and hegemonic masculinity. When working in rural communities, social workers need to be attentive to the factors which impact on rural women who have experienced intimate partner violence, and how these factors might differ from those that impact urban women’s experiences.
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