Breaking free from Rural Isolation - #WhenIBecameFree - The Heartland Project


Just sounding out the word leaves me with the chills. So cold  - so alone - desperation - lost - forgotten - hopeless - endless pit of despair.

It is a place to which I never want to return. When I visited it in the past, I overstayed my welcome so now the mere thought of going back is a nightmare, one I work hard at making sure I never find myself there again.

For those of us living in the rural area of the country we know an isolation that our suburban and urban survivor counterpoints should feel comfort that they never knew.

I've lived and survived abuse in both settings, and I can honestly tell you that the rural setting is one that has barriers others do not.

Lack of resources
Lack of transportation (public)
Lack of employment
Overwhelming poverty
Constraints of the small town rumor mill

And those are just a few,,,

For a comprehensive look at rural isolation read the following study -Rural Disparity in Domestic Violence Prevalence and Access to Resources

I can remember those nights when my then husband would come home loaded from work - the nights I knew were going to be long and cold. Mentally in my head I would prepare for the worse, outwardly the smile would emerge on my face, pretending like nothing was wrong and in hopes he would just be content with that and drift away in a drunken slumber.

More nights than I could count would end up with me loading the kids into the car (when we could get away safely) to take off and destination in mind, just a drive to put distance between us and the nightmare at home.

We had nowhere to go.

So we drove, and drove. Sometimes we would park and talk - I would try to ease their fears knowing full well that when the time came to make the final leave, it would not be easy nor friendly - something I could not protect them from, which caused even more confusion for my tired mind on when that drastic move should take place.

We'd ride around our small town, down one side street to the next. Sometimes we would venture off into the night down the dark rural roadways that surround our town.

Those boys had a lot if milkshakes from McDonalds - a place, sometimes we would sit and talk.

We were isolated in so many ways - our situation, from family, and by our geography.

Back then I realized less than I do now about the resources available in our small rural community. Even now knowing what I do, the lack of resources sends shivers down my spine.

Knowing just how devastating rural isolation is for victims of abuse attempting to become survivors is the very reason I am highlighting the rural Heartland as a project for #WhenIBecameFree -

Awareness is more than needed - it is overdue...


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