Episode 12, Partnered with a Survivor Podcast
(Special COVID-19 edition)

with Ruth Stearns Mandel & David Mandel

About Episode 12: COVID-19: Helping families impacted by domestic abuse in a time of crisis

In the first of a series of COVID-19 specific podcasts, David and Ruth talk about how the dynamics of domestic abuse are changing in the context of the COVID-19. Talking to both professionals and family members, Ruth offers insights from her own history related to being isolated with her abusers. The discussion about how we can best continue to partner with survivors and intervene with perpetrators follows with examples and practical steps. In this podcast:

  • Specific resources for immediate support for survivors across the North America, New Zealand, Australia and the UK
  • An exploration of how perpetrators may be using the pandemic to increase coercive control, including increased monitoring of family members trapped by social distancing
  • How children may be impacted by the intersection of the pandemic and living with an abusive parent
  • Specific practice tips for partnering with survivors and intervening with perpetrators in the context of COVID-19 and social distancing

The episode also includes a preview of the steps that the Safe & Together Institute is taking to help professionals and families including a COVID-19 specific page on their website, upcoming COVID-19 practitioner lived experience webinars, and their new Virtual Academy to increase distance learning options during the crisis. This episode was also recorded in two parts on Facebook Live on our Safe & Together Institute Facebook page.

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More About The Podcast

You asked, we answered. Amidst our current, global political and social upheavals, during movements, activism and testimonies, during legal cases, fear and victim-blaming – we’ve heard your voice asking for clarity, insight and thoughts about how all of this is reflected in the Safe & Together Model. Many of the stories and news pieces we hear about from our partners all over the world involve complex questions, yet the beginnings of change and hope are based on the sound, simple principles of the Model.

To that end, in our new podcast, “Partnered with a Survivor,” S&T’s Executive Director and Founder, David Mandel and Ruth Stearns Mandel offer a raw and intimate glimpse into their personal and professional partnership and what it means to truly partner with a survivor, raise a family based on S&T principles and engage in social change at every level. This is a podcast for practitioners and parents, partners and employers, coworkers and friends – and anyone else who may want clarity, understanding, hope and healing.

What does it mean to give consistent consent? What is coercive control? How do you probably see it or feel it every day? This is a podcast you’ll wish you had heard when you were a teenager. In unsure, confusing times, it’s our goal to widen the audience for the Safe & Together Model-associated material to survivors, their family members, and even perpetrators. For professionals familiar with the Model, it will offer another angle on the issues addressed by the Model. For those who don’t know Safe & Together, it offers a connection to the themes and ideas behind the work.

These podcasts are a reflection of Ruth & David’s on-going conversations which are both intimate and professional and touch on complex topics like how systems fail victims and children, how victims experience those systems, and how children are impacted by those failures. Their discussions delve into how society views masculinity and violence, and how intersectionalities such as cultural beliefs, religious beliefs and unique vulnerabilities impact how we respond to abuse and violence. These far-ranging discussions offer an insider look into how we navigate the world as professionals, as parents and as partners. During these podcasts, David & Ruth challenge the notions which keep all us from moving forward collectively as systems, as cultures and as families into safety, nurturance and healing.

*Trigger Warning: Some of the topics discussed in the next 30 min are deeply personal and sensitive, which may be difficult for some people. We also use mature language to describe some feelings. Finally, we use gender pronouns like “he” when discussing perpetrators and “she” for victims for two reasons: 1.) statistically, more men are perpetrators than are women when it comes to domestic violence, abuse and coercive control; and 2. For clarity sake, sticking with one pronoun causes less confusion for the listener. We know there are many men who are in abusive relationships and we are not invalidating their situations.

About the podcasters: David and Ruth are committed to creating systems and cultures of nurturance and safety. David Mandel founded the Safe & Together Institute which trains systems in domestic violence aware practices from a child safety lens. Ruth Stearns Mandel is a survivor of complex abuse, child abuse and domestic abuse growing up in a cult. She is a former teacher and trainer using her experience to clarify messages and complexities around abuse and survivors.