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Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

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Research Collaborative on Violence Against Women

The Research Collaborative on Violence against Women is an interdisciplinary group of University of Maine faculty and women’s advocates in the community. Representing expertise in research and advocacy, the Collaborative aims to generate high quality research on violence against women that informs scholarship and teaching, and contributes to peace and justice in our communities.

Fall 2005 Conference

Sexual Assualt and Domestic Violence Against Women: Strengthening Relationships Between Research, Practice, and Policy

November 18, 2005

Nearly 100 practitioners, researchers, representatives from state agencies, and policy makers met on the University of Maine campus for a daylong conference about research on sexual assault and domestic violence in Maine. The conference format consisted of presentations by featured speakers (Sarah Deer, Vera Mouradian, and Stephen Rowe) and concurrent break-out sessions on prevention, victim services, offender accountability, and tribal efforts and practices.

A report was prepared from the conference notes, which includes summary notes for the break out sessions. A compilation of the issues and priorities that emerged from the concurrent sessions is then presented as a suggested agenda for future research on domestic violence and sexual assault in Maine. The report concludes with recommendations for possible next steps to be initiated by scholars, policy makers, and practitioners in Maine. Material provided by three featured speakers is also appended.

Current Members of the Research Collaborative

Elizabeth Allan, Assistant Professor, Higher Education Leadership, College of Education & Human Development

Carolyn Ball, Associate Professor, Public Administration
Carolyn Ball, Ph.D. teaches courses in Public Management, Human Resources, Administrative Theory, and Statistics. Her research interests include performance measurement, human resource diversity issues, community policing, and domestic violence. She is a founding member of Research Collaborative on Violence Against Women. She has received grants to conduct research and reduce domestic violence in Rhode Island, and in Aroostook County, Maine. Among her reports are: Needs Assessment: Reducing Domestic Violence Together in Lincoln County. With Steve Barkan, An Evaluation of the Aroostook County Domestic Violence Problem Solving Grant, and An Analysis of Domestic Violence in Aroostook County Based upon Incidence Data. She helped develop an Elderly Abuse Prevention Training for police officers and adult protective service workers.

Steve Barkan, Professor, Department of Sociology
At UMaine since 1979. Currently conducting needs assessment of domestic violence services in Lincoln County, ME (with Carolyn Ball)

Sharon Barker, Director, Women’s Resource Center

Amy Blackstone, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Sue BradfordSpruce Run Association

Eric Brown, Eastern Maine Medical Center

Margaret Brugman, Graduate Student Assistant

Mary Cathcart, Senior Policy Associate, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center

Dorathy ChocenskySpruce Run Association

Sandra Coleman, Eastern Maine Medical Center

Jennifer Crittenden, Research Assistant, Center on Aging

Elizabeth Depoy, Professor, School of Social Work
Elizabeth DePoy, Ph.D., is Professor in the School of Social Work and Coordinator of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Community Inclusion, Maine’s University Center of Excellence. Her areas of inquiry, teaching and practice include research and evaluation design, with particular emphasis on participatory and mixed method strategies, and disability.

Nancy Fishwick, Associate Professor, Nursing
My interest in the area of violence against women grew out of my work as a family nurse practitioner in rural eastern Kentucky in the early 1980s. At that time, there were no sanctuaries or crisis services for women in the mountains; the battered women’s program in Lexington, 125 miles away, was the nearest source of help. I learned a great deal about the facts of daily life for rural Appalachian women in abusive relationships, the many barriers to leaving or obtaining help, the many reasons to keep the secret. Since then, I have conducted research regarding women’s decisions to reveal or conceal abuse during health care visits; my most recent research effort has been with women in rural central and northern Maine.

Sandy Gardner, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Steven Barkan (Sociology) and I are working on a research proposal to investigate violence against women within the state of Maine. We plan to conduct a state-wide survey to learn more about the incidence, dynamics, and help-seeking behaviors, and response of the criminal justice system to such violence. My research interests also include emotional abuse and its relationship to physical violence between intimate partners.

Stephen Gilson, Associate Professor, School of Social Work

Sue Hamlett, Spruce Run Association
Sue Hamlett has worked for Spruce Run for nine years. She currently holds the position of Healthcare Response Coordinator, although she has also served as School Based Advocacy Coordinator and Resource Development Coordinator. Her research interests include measuring the efficacy of dating abuse prevention programs with middle and high school students.

Jeff Hecker, Professor, Chair, Department of Psychology

Kim Huisman, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Susan Iverson, Assistant Professor of Higher Education Administration & Student Affairs at Kent State University. Iverson earned her doctorate in higher educational leadership, with a concentration in women’s studies, from the University of Maine (2005) where she also served as an instructor in higher educational leadership (2002-2006) and women’s studies (2004-2006). Iverson’s scholarly interests include interpersonal violence, diversity and women’s issues in higher education, campus cultures and climates, service-learning, and the role of policy in shaping perceptions and culture.

Renate Klein, Associate Professor, Human Development & Family Studies, College of Education & Human Development
Renate Klein teaches in family studies and in women’s studies, directs theUniversity of Maine Safe Campus Project, and coordinates the European Network on Conflict, Gender, and Violence. She serves as a research consultant to community-based and statewide projects addressing victim services and violence prevention.

Mary Madden, Assistant Research Professor, College of Education & Human Development

Heather McLaughlin, Undergraduate Student, Department of Sociology

Jay Peters, Lecturer, School of Social Work, MSW
Worked as a psychiatric social worker for eight years in Bronx, New York, working almost exclusively with trauma survivors. During both of my MSW student internships I also worked with batterer intervention programs, first in the military and then from a feminist perspective. I am currently working on an Individualized Ph.D. here in Orono, looking at the impact of domestic violence femicide on women in the community. The link to my rudimentary web site is

Ann Schonberger, Director, Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program
Dr. Ann K. Schonberger (Ph.D. Mathematics Education) has been the full-time director of the Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Maine since 1991. In that role her responsibilities include administering an undergraduate minor and major, as well as interdisciplinary graduate concentrations at the masters and doctoral levels. Also a part of the program are a curriculum transformation project, public programming such as a weekly lunch series and Women’s History Celebration, an awards ceremony to Maine women of achievement, and the Maine Feminist Oral History Project. The focus of the oral history project and Ann’s current research area is the history of Spruce Run, the battered women’s project in Bangor (the nation’s third oldest). As a volunteer she has served on the Spruce Run Steering Committee since 1978. A strength she brings to any project is her administrative ability, demonstrated by the success of the many facets of the University program she directs and the success of the program directors’ subgroup of the National Women’s Studies Association which she co-chaired from June 1999 to June 2003. She has also provided leadership to both the Maine Women’s Studies Consortium (public and private institutions of all kinds) and to the reorganizing of the New England Women’s Studies Association. A third area of strength is her development of co-equal partnerships between Bangor-area women’s agencies and various University activities (speakers, internships, data collection).

Sandra Sigmon, Associate Professor, Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology

Francine StarkSpruce Run Association
I am the Community Response and Training Coordinator for Spruce Run Association, the domestic violence project serving Penobscot County, Maine. I have a BA in Rhetoric from Bates College, am a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Dominican Republic 1982-1984), and have worked in the battered women’s movement since 1985. I have developed and provided training on domestic violence and fostering a coordinated community response to abuse for a wide variety of audiences and co-teach a course on Domestic Violence and Theology at the Bangor Theological Seminary with Rev. Dr. Marvin Ellison. I served on the Maine Commission on Domestic Abuse for 6 years and am a past co-chair of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.


Contact Information

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program
101 Fernald Hall
Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: (207) 581-1228 | Fax: (207) 581-1218
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System