The first police spouse Dr. Leanor Boulin Johnson interviewed came into the office, sat down and said: “I have something I want to talk to you about, and I really don’t care what you want to talk to me about. I’m going to tell you what I want you to know about my stress.” (p. 60 from Police Wife by Alex Roslin). She went on to tell Dr. Johnson and her colleague about how her police officer husband was beating her. More stories of police officer-perpetrated domestic violence were uncovered as the research continued. With each disclosure, Dr. Johnson was thrown deeper and deeper into the hidden world of officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV).
Over more than thirty years, Dr. Johnson has done multiple studies and even testified to the United States Congress about officer-involved domestic violence. Dr. Johnson, Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University didn’t set out to research officer-involved domestic violence. As a professor in African-American and Family Studies, she was looking to research women’s roles in the workplace. After running into roadblock after roadblock, she landed on studying police officers’ stress including their families. In this conversation with David & Ruth, Dr. Johnson shares her insights and observations related to OIDV including her concerns for the health of police families, lack of support for police officers, and the connections between OIDV and police brutality.
During this interview Dr. Johnson talks about:
For those interested in learning more about her research you can email her directly at email@example.com
To read more about how the research, read Alex Roslin’s book Police Wife.
To listen to the other episodes in this series:
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.
Note: Some of the topics discussed in the podcast 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’s 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.