Are rural communities in SA prepared for the ‘social’ side of fracking?


A blog article posted in the US – I interviewed a number of people in the US around these issues and can confirm this trend.

Fracking = rape (and truck crashes and STDs and meth addiction)

Vice is a hip magazine, website, film production company, record label and publishing imprint. An area of the link website, Reddit (“the front page of the internet”), is dedicated to it. An article it published recently highlighted that fracking, which has been likened to raping the planet, is also associated with an increase of rape of the non-figurative sort.

 

Fracking = Rape

In the 17 US states where 82,000 frack wells have been drilled since 2005, the necessary, transient workforce is housed in “man camps” on the fringes of formerly-neglected population centres. Being 7.6 times as likely to perish than in any other industry, the stressed inhabitants work hard and play hard. One industry veteran revealed that in these camps, there are 80 men for every woman, and one friend who brought his wife with him would always find other men talking to her if he turned his back on her at Wal Mart. Ladies of negotiable affections charge USD300/GBP185/EUR218 a shot.

Violence against women has increased in the fracking boomtowns of Montana and North Dakota. The Department of Justice admitted in June that the man camps that came with fracking could be “impacting domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking” and announced that it would spend half a million dollars investigating the relationship. Amy Miller, the Executive Director of the Abuse & Rape Crisis Centre in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, noted that since the gas industry set up shop in the region, rape by unknown assailants had increased, and that these cases were considerably harder to prosecute.

Fracking = Truck Crashes

Vice also cited a study published by Food and Water Watch in September that examined the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania. In rural counties where fracking occurred, heavy truck crashes increased by 7.2 percent, compared to a reduction of 12.4 percent in other counties. One oil worker said that company trucks were usually driven at speeds of more than 100mph. Men have often fallen asleep at the wheel.

Fracking = STDs and Meth Addiction

Worse still, arrests for disorderly conduct rose by 17.1 percent where fracking took place while the rise was only 12.7 percent elsewhere and cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea increased by 62 percent. Methamphetamine usage is also growing, with crimes connected to it twice the national average, which Vice speculated was due to the shifts worked by frackers generally being at least 12 hours long. Coffee and energy drinks are certainly often used at work.

These problems, which had never previously been discussed, could be addressed by consent-based sex education, easier access to contraception, drug treatment programs and shorter shifts. The contaminated water, air pollution, breast cancer, birth defects and earthquakes allegedly caused by fracking are another matter entirely.

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