Date of Conferral







Yoly Zentella


The rate of DV for AA women is higher than other groups and often more severe; however, some AA women are successful in leaving the violence for good. Researchers continue to examine how victims move beyond their former life and into an abuse free environment by directing more attention on positive dynamics of victims of DV. One area is the study of resilience; however, little is known about the lived experience of resilience. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of resilience in AA women who successfully abandoned an abusive relationship. The interview questions were used assist the participants in describing the lived experience of resilience. The survivor theory (ST) was used to demonstrate the participants' active role in leaving the relationship. ST was also used to dispute past research that indicated victims give up hope and therefore remain in the abusive relationship. Ten AA women from the Bell County, Texas area who are at least 18-years-old and have been free of an abusive relationship for 2 years were interviewed. Participants' perceptions were extracted and analyzed for patterns and themes using face-to-face interviews and written surveys. Data analysis procedures included the process of reducing participants' similar themes and statements in search of meaning. Results revealed three common themes that include having a positive mindset, establishing a strong relationship with God, and taking various forms of actions toward gaining control. Implications for social change include using the findings toward increasing education, intervention, and other supportive means used by those who provide services to victims.