Many professionals mistakenly believe that concerns related to domestic violence evaporate once a relationship is over. Survivors know differently. Their experiences help us understand the ways that domestic violence perpetrators’ patterns of behaviors extend beyond the relationship.
In this episode, Ruth and David explore the nature of post-separation coercive control and related topics. Ruth and David discuss:
How post-separation coercive control is distinguished through a heavy focus on “remote control” abuse, abuse from a distance, using proxies to maintain and extend control; targeting and use of children; efforts to control the survivors’ parenting; and the use and targeting of finances.
How post-separation coercive control often involves new avenues and targets for manipulation, often centered around family court and child protection systems.
How the risk assessment frameworks used by many professionals fails to capture harm to children and the omnipresent influence of coercive control in the post separation period-regardless of whether there have been recent acts of violence or not.
How one of the main factors used by courts for assessing the fitness of a parent – their willingness and ability to co-parent – can be used to increase accountability for perpetrators as parents: when post-separation coercive controlling patterns of behaviors are taken into consideration and mapped as parenting choices & are considered an impediment to healthy & safe co-parenting.
Toward the end of the episode, Ruth passionately describes how systems take survivors’ disclosures and “hurt us with them”, and how this can be more harmful than the abuse itself. David asks professionals to reflect on the ways that survivors are vulnerable to post separation coercive control by virtue of our collective lack of awareness & appropriate responses to this form of abuse.
Listen to related episodes of Partnered with A Survivor
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 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.