About the Women’s Resource Center

Executive Team

Katherine E. Leahy

Board President

Peg Ruddy image

Peg Ruddy

Executive Director

Our Team

Executive Director Margaret Ruddy manages a team of compassionate and specially trained advocates, lawyers, counselors, and professionals who work tirelessly and fervently to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault gain their personal and financial independence.

Our Association

Maria Valvano – President
Maureen Guzzi – Vice President

Linda Hansen – Treasurer
Peggy Gutowski – Secretary

Marilyn Alspaugh
Maura Boland
Carol Chisdak
Dominique Clark
Jennifer DeNike
Lexxus Elyse
Leah Gianacopoulos
Autumn Granza

Wendy Hartmane
Kerri A. Holland (Greco)
Courtney Lisk
Elaine Mazzoni
Maura Mohanco
Maria Muchal Berta
Claudia Naismith
Colleen Pettinato

Gina Pitoniak
Sally Preate
Leigh Renfer
Elaine Shepard
Tara T. Smith
Allison M. Uhrin
Alissa Weiss

Our Board of Directors

Katherine E. Leahy

Eileen O’Boyle Bell
Vice President

Elaine F. Shepard

Jaime Ryan

Our Board of Members

Tammy Bonnice
Kirsten Daneige Smith
Mark DeStefano
Kate Eary
Trish Fisher
Pat Friocchione Jr.
Kerri Greco

Linda Hansen
Maggie Hawk
Terri Hinton
Linda Keene
Robert Luciani
Bernie M. Maopoiski
Margaret McCormick
Mike Muller

Carline Munley
Claudia Naismith
Terry O’Rourke
Colleen Pettinato
Brian Rose
Deede Schneider
Shubhra Shetty
Maria Valvano
Jane Yeomans

Our Philosophy

Statement of Philosophy

The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) works to end domestic and sexual violence against women, children, teenagers, and men. To that end, WRC operates from a feminist analysis of the violence with the following understandings:

  • Domestic and sexual violence is perpetuated by oppressive structures that retain entitlements, privilege, and power by holding others subordinate;
  • Gender-based violence often intersects with oppression that is based on class, race, and/or culture which further marginalizes survivors;
  • Domestic and sexual violence affects women and men; therefore, women and men working together in equality and mutual respect is fundamental to ending the violence;
  • Women do not experience oppression simply as women, but as women of differing race, sexuality, gender identity, class, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, social privilege, religious or spiritual practices, age, and personal experience;
  • A woman’s right to self-determination is supported when there is equal treatment under the law and access to economic opportunity, including affordable, expert legal representation, safe and decent housing, and rewarding, sustainable work;
  • Long-lasting social change requires men and boys hold their peers accountable for acts of gender-based discrimination, abuse, and violence; and
  • The unique experiences of children and teens need to be taken into account to advance the further liberation of this and future generations.

Guiding Principles

Under the greater Philosophical Framework, the everyday practice of WRC is guided by the following principles:

Mission :
Eliminate domestic violence and sexual abuse through advocacy, education, system change, and empowering services to all survivors.

A safe and just world for all; free of sexual and domestic abuse.


The work at WRC often addresses horrific acts of violence. WRC recognizes that survivors are in the best position to decide which, if any, action to take for their safety. A women’s perception of danger is the strongest predictor of risk to her and her children. Risk assessment and safety planning is defined as an ongoing process – they go hand and hand – it’s a process of reflection, critical thinking, planning, strategizing and evaluation. Survivor safety is enhanced when systems and communities hold perpetrators accountable for the violence.


WRC places the highest value on the confidentiality of survivors. Confidentiality promotes help-seeking and minimizes repercussions by perpetrators and a society that engages in victim blaming. To protect confidentiality, WRC guards information about the content of our work with individuals as well as the identities of the individuals themselves.


Respect and dignity are the antithesis of oppression, power, and control. WRC promotes the treatment of all individuals with respect and dignity, including program participants, staff, volunteers, board members, and the community at large.

Survivor-Centered Advocacy

Survivor-centered advocacy is an approach to working with survivors that strives to meet individual needs, as defined and prioritized by them. It encourages partnership-building by focusing on each person’s unique set of skills, strengths, and abilities, with the goal being greater autonomy, justice, and safety for each survivor. Further, WRC resists society’s tendency to engage in victim blaming and supports survivors’ rights to make decisions that best suit their lives and the lives of their children.


The work of WRC is enhanced by the participation of many individuals with the accompanying benefit of varied perspectives and experiences. WRC’s commitment to diversity moves beyond mere tolerance, and embraces the diverse identities, perspectives, and experiences of survivors, staff, volunteers, board members, helping professionals, and other community partners. WRC strives for inclusion by promoting a safe, positive, and nurturing environment to express differences.

Holistic Assistance

Survivors encounter a myriad of challenges and barriers when seeking to end the violence in their lives. WRC seeks to provide holistic assistance by responding to the immediate crises and safety risks, as well as assessing for the many complex barriers that trap survivors in abusive relationships. WRC staff combines the skills, talents, and resources of advocates, attorneys, and community partners to address obstacles that include: trauma recovery, child care, transportation, housing, education, and training, income and work, system’s advocacy, social support-systems, health-care, civil legal representation, and criminal legal assistance.

Social Change

WRC seeks to make social change by dismantling oppressive structures that allow for gender-based violence, thereby promoting justice and liberation of all people. WRC is committed to building a lasting legacy of equality, peace, social justice, and a community where domestic and sexual violence no longer exist.