Sociological research informs us that urban areas are more likely than rural areas to witness the blight of violent crime. This likelihood is borne out by crime statistics that show that violent crime is much lower in rural areas. However, violence against women within families does not seem to follow this pattern. Using an ethnostatistical approach that combines ethnography and more traditional statistical methods, we report on 510 woman-to-woman interviews with urban and rural battered women and include a selection of qualitative findings. In interpreting and explaining our statistical findings, we reinvoke the ethnographic work from which the survey derived and conclude that the forms and levels of woman battering vary little between rural and urban areas. Our research therefore empirically highlights the much neglected problem of rural woman battering. We also explore the social forces and culturally nuanced meanings that appear to influence the parity in forms and levels of woman battering in rural and urban communities. In particular we focus on rural and urban forms of patriarchy and their relationship to Durkheimian notions of the rural collective conscience.
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