I am writing a paper on women in leadership who are also victims of violence and/or in violent relationships. My own experience has lead me to realize the additional difficulties inherent in leadership and navigating violent relationships. Below is my abstract. I am hoping I can collect some stories and basic information on your experiences.

Women who take on leadership roles in the nonprofit or service sector represent a unique group within society. These women tend to work well in a myriad of high stress/low resource situations and have a solid understanding of the social problems that impact the surrounding community. Often times these attitudes and behaviors are not only found in her work life, but in her interpersonal relationships and perception of self. This can become problematic for women in these leadership positions who experience domestic violence in her personal life.

According to the National Collation Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence “is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.” As this is widely understood as true, women who work in nonprofit leadership roles are not immune to domestic violence. Though these women represent a unique group that has its own set of obstacles to overcome when coping with domestic violence, there is very little academic or public attention directed to the issue. I became aware of it only after reflecting on the personal relationships that I maintained while serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Baltimore City. Even after recognizing that a relationship was violent, I was reluctant to leave because it felt like I was giving up; I knew of women that experienced levels of abuse that were far more dangerous than my own and believed that I could handle the situation. The pressures placed on women to maintain a successful intimate relationship while excelling professionally combined with such social factors as stigma and fear of alienation contributed directly to the way that I coped with the violence. I believe that this also holds true in similar experiences of domestic violence.

* 1. I am a women leader in the sexual and/or domestic violence field.

* 2. I am currently or have been in a interpersonal/domestic violence relationship.

* 3. I feel my role as a leader in the anti-violence field was/is a barrier to my leaving this relationship.

* 4. I am reluctant to talk about my own personal experience in a violent relationship because I feel it will impact me negatively in my job and the perception of me as a leader.

* 5. I feel that my own experience in a violent relationship impacts my own self-worth and my perception of myself as a leader.

* 6. If you would like to give a testimony or statement about your experience as a leader in this industry and your own experience regarding domestic violence, please write in your story.

* 7. Please enter demographic information.

* 8. If you would like to give your contact information, please fill out the following information.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this survey. I know that this information is personal and I appreciate that you shared it with me. If you provided your name, I may contact you to for further communication. However, all information will be private unless you specifically give permission to identify yourself.