Professor Sherry Hamby Honored with 2024 Christine Blasey-Ford Woman of Courage Award

The Association for Women in Psychology (AWP) has announced that Professor Sherry Hamby has won the prestigious Christine Blasey-Ford Woman of Courage Award. Presented annually by the AWP, the prize recognizes and celebrates feminist leaders who have demonstrated the quality of political courage in standing up and speaking truth to power, in order to take action against injustice, discrimination, or harm. Hamby is the award’s fourth recipient.

A distinguished research professor of psychology, Hamby is an internationally recognized authority on victimization and trauma. A clinical psychologist by training, Dr. Hamby has worked for more than 25 years on the problem of violence, including front-line crisis intervention and treatment, involvement in grassroots organizations, and research leading to the publication of more than 200 articles and books. She is the founding editor of the journal Psychology of Violence and the founder and director of the Life Paths Research Center.

“Very early in her career, Sherry demonstrated the courage to challenge the theoretical models and conclusions of leading scholars regarding relationship violence,” stated the AWP at the award’s presentation on March 10, noting that Hamby’s courageous stances included refuting some of her own most highly cited work. “In spite of criticism by both domestic violence advocates and scholars and some feminists, she rejected established approaches and developed a more sophisticated view recognizing the ways in which violence in people’s lives is interrelated and co-occurring across the lifespan.”

Upon accepting the award, Hamby shared two lessons learned from her professional experiences. “One: Courage is often a group effort,” said Hamby. “Two: At some point in your career, you will almost certainly need to choose between defending your prior work or advancing science. Science literally cannot advance if every paper that has ever been published is perfect. Be willing to admit something didn’t work the way you hoped.”

Hamby’s forthcoming book, The Resilience Equation, was recently acquired for publication by Penguin Life, an imprint of Penguin Random House.