Episode 5, Partnered with a Survivor Podcast

with Ruth Stearns Mandel & David Mandel

About Episode 5: Professional Safety & Trauma

In this episode of “Partnered with a Survivor,” David and Ruth dive into the huge topic of professionals and their emotional safety and trauma as it intersects with working domestic abuse and child maltreatment. As professionals we all bring experiences and bias into our work, and some of those include our experiences of abuse and violence. Addressing the benefits, challenges and nuances that brings to our work is part of doing the work and increases safety and retention of workers. How does trauma and the judgments we make or the protective patterns of behaviors we adopt impact us in our daily work? Challenges for engagement, documentation, retention and the health and well being of workers are addressed from this lens of what we bring with our own experiences into our professional lives. How trauma needs to be addressed to create sustainability and safety for workers and better outcomes for victims and survivors. Ruth speaks about trauma overlaying on to our experiences both professionally and personally and that part of creating a safe and comfortable professional disclosure is creating a culture which keeps perpetrators and their choices in our view as the cause of that trauma. David & Ruth discuss how important it is to create organizational and system cultures that give permission for professionals to explore those experiences and their effects on their practice without judgement and with the acknowledgment that not all trauma impacts us negatively but can help us bring a sense of empathy and create a safe space for those who we work with. The book Trauma Stewardship by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky is highlighted as a resource both for individuals, professionals and systems.

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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.