Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Education




Dr. Susan Rodger


The purpose of this study was to understand women's experiences of violence from the perspective of strength. Women who had experienced woman abuse participated, identifying common themes that emerged relating to their strengths and resilience that helped them survive their traumatic experiences, as well as their posttraumatic growth. Interviews were conducted with women who were involved in an adult education program for women who had experienced woman abuse. All of the women in this study were suffering distress and mental health concerns related to their experiences of violence; however all of them showed resilience and posttraumatic growth in areas of their life as well. Four themes emerged from the women's narratives that related to their resilience and posttraumatic growth: hope, ability to display vulnerability, a sense of identity, and a desire for a new life. These results are discussed in relation to the context of abuse these women endured, the theoretical frameworks used in this study (Relational Cultural Theory, Ecological Theory and the notion of self), and the implications for practice and future research.