04 Jun Season 2 Episode 11: “We need a revolution:” Integration of trauma healing and behavior change for people who choose violence
The discussion of the relationship between histories of trauma and the perpetration of abuse is often fraught. Many people are worried, as has happened over and over again, that any consideration of the trauma histories of perpetrators will become an excuse for violence. Others advocate for the need for a more holistic approach, especially for those perpetrators who are also survivors of intergenerational traumas related to colonization and racism.
Following on from this season’s Episode 10: “Trauma-informed is not the same as domestic violence-informed: A conversation about the intersection of domestic violence perpetration, mental health & addiction,” David & Ruth turn their attention to the relationship between trauma histories and the choice to act in abusive, violent and controlling ways. They anchor the conversation to the following three main points:
- Adult and child survivors’ realities and stated needs should be reflected in our conversations about perpetrators’ trauma & behavioral accountability.
- Trauma histories do not cause someone to engage in violence, and violent and abusive behaviors do not heal trauma (in fact, they impede healing).
- A perpetrator pattern-based approach to measuring behavior change can help make trauma and addiction work more domestic violence-informed.
David & Ruth also highlight how the work of the “She’s Not Your Rehab” (Matt & Sarah Brown) is an example of how to bridge the conversations around behavior change and healing. (And Ruth does a shout-out to Jess Hill, author of “See What You Made Me Do.” )
More About The Podcast
You asked, we answered. Amidst our current, global political and social upheavals, during movements, activism and testimonies, 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 Reymundo 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 Reymundo 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.