Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It never ceases to amaze me what I will think of next when taking a shower.  This particular shower, this particular morning I had quite a bit of clarity while in the shower.  I was even able to think of a book topic. 

Oh the topic I'm sure has been done to death.  But its my topic, I know what went on and when and I know what its like to live it.

I was thinking of the scandals that occur in small town life.  I've lived in a few small towns in my lifetime.  I've become part of their community through various organizations.  In every one I was privy to scandal.  Not that I was the cause of it or the witness to everything first hand, no but I was aware.  Sometimes I did nothing, sometimes I stood up and said something.

When I stood up I did get knocked back down, put in my place as a female of no accord and thought to be silly, flighty, and an instigator.  Small towns are often backward places where the women folk are still barefoot and pregnant as teens through menopause and if they aren't something is wrong with their man.  Where the women folk are seen only when the food is to be prepared, sex is required of them, or they are needed as beasts of burden.  In today's society how can this be still happening in America?  Well it is.  Often we turn our back to it since its so painful to look upon.

Men are not the enemy but often they are the troublemakers in the small towns.  Its not the anonymous one that create the violence like is heard about in the big cities.  In the small towns it could be and often is a person that has a position in the town.  Quite possibly a neighbor, not necessarily an estranged from the community sort but the one that is looked at as a role model.   You can't tell what is lurking behind closed doors until you are invited in.   Abuse of authority is not unheard of but it is often ignored.

Case in point, a former fire chief and military veteran often cheats on his wife and she turns a blind eye to the matter until one day she snaps and confronts her husband's current lover.  The lover, who has been more of a friend to the man than a sexual partner breaks off the affair only to have this so called friend rape her a year later.  When the former lover presses charges after getting a rape kit done she is advised to drop the case because of the man's position in the community.  Little did the  community know that this wasn't the first time this guy has done a violent sex act to a woman.  Doubtful it would be his last either; but this man escaped justice because of the small town ethics.

Second case in point another former firefighter and military veteran beats his wife to the point she ends up in the hospital.  She presses charges, sues for divorce and the soon to be ex then sues her for emotional damage to him.  Really?  I doubt the man was a victim at any point in that marriage.

Third case in point.  An almost adult, 18 being legal adult, child gets into his parents stash of drugs and goes crazy.  He kills both of his parents. One parent had jail time for some long forgotten crime.   Small town ethic ignore the fact that the parents were drug users and the town mourns the parents as if they were heroes.  The child is jailed and finally sent to prison.

Small towns are often idealized by literature and television.  There is usually just as much per capita of violence if not more because most of it is hushed up.

Now what do we do about it?  Do we go into the towns and proselytize?  Do we go in with our pamphlets for domestic abuse, drug abuse, and suicide prevention?  Or do we actually settle in these towns and educate them on how to recognize the signs and symptoms and learn how to prevent them?  I'm not sure if any of the above would work.  I think that perhaps it will always exist in the small towns and always be swept under the carpet when possible.

These are my opinions.  No names or dates were mentioned in the above.


  1. Wow you must have been talking about the town I grew up in. Everyone knows and keeps your secrets, bad or good. I exited this problem by finally moving away. It is very amazing how different things are in small towns, just as you stated.

  2. Never having lived in a small town myself, its really shocking to hear about the status of women even in these modern times. The goings on don't surprise me thanks to TV/movies etc...but still quite shocking.

  3. I'm not sure if outsiders settling in small towns and then telling people there how to live neccessarily goes down very well, even if the newcomers are right.

    Two of the cases you've mentioned are sort of womens-issues type thing - here, the cities tend to have more agencies that can help women who have been abused then the small towns. Everyone knowing your business must be a massive disincentive to ask for help.

  4. At it's peak, the 'small town' where I grew up had a population of ~35,000. I knew the name of every student in my Jr High and High School and knew where ~85% of them lived. (helped somewhat by having delivered newspapers since 3rd grade) There were 34 Mormon Wards by the time I was in high school and I could name a least one member of the bishopric in each one. I knew where every police officer and firefighter lived.

    And yeah, I knew the scandals; the mothers of five, six, seven children who were kept in non-consensual slavery to their well positioned in the church husbands. I knew of most of the pregnancies of girls +/- four years of my age, which ones went for adoption, which were kept and which terminated (by whatever means). The countless crimes against persons - virtually always against women.

    Being beaten by my ex-husband to the point of broken bones and being STRONGLY discouraged not to press charges; the DA insisted it was un-winnable. (I agreed to a plea down from Felony Aggravated Assault so I wouldn't have to stay around with a target on my head for the weeks/months before trial) While he was in jail (72 hours, released on time served to fine and probation) I disappeared off the face of the earth. I handled the divorce through a double proxy of lawyers so he couldn't stalk me and kill me as he assured me he would.

    I considered writing a paper about the incidence of Crimes Against Persons in insular societies (small towns, religious conclaves, etc). I submitted an outline to the professor in question and was told it would not be accepted. (don't recall if it was Psych or Soc)

    It's the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it happens, no one wants to know *about* it - even now, in a rather more open and enlightened time. Maybe the next generation will do better at exposing it and exterminating it. My nieces and nephews are now of an age where these things should be *known* and dealt with. Rape Culture, Systematic Bullying, Abuse by Control as all aspects of it that are at least now out in the public eye.


If you decide to be a Troll I will refuse to pay your toll and your comment will not appear.