This research explores how empowerment programs impact gender based violence and the socialstructures that lead to such violence in the first place. Drawing from interviews with formerparticipants in empowerment programs that focus on building community leaders, the studyexamines how grassroots women lead interventions and the resulting effects on leaders’ andsurvivors’ lives. Findings suggest that although most survivors had displayed some agency inindependently resisting violence, their efforts are effective when coupled with a support networkand access to resources. With the intervention of leaders, the survivors were able to betternegotiate for justice with a renewed sense of agency. For the leaders, participation in programsgave them an identity independent from their status within the family. They promoted change bydeveloping independent innovative intervention strategies that worked despite the tight structuralconstraints of gendered norms.