16 Feb Season 2, Episode 5: How professionals can avoid being manipulated by perpetrators
Domestic violence perpetrators do not only target survivors. They also target the professionals & systems who want to want to help them. Many perpetrators, often using money, privilege and power, leverage systems to amplify their control. False allegations of substance abuse, mental health issues or child abuse are lodged with social services and family courts, often to devastating effect. Other behaviors include:
- Continuous litigation to exhaust the financial ability of survivors to resist
- The use of police wellness checks to intimidate a survivor
- The weaponization of survivor’s mental health and addiction diagnoses, to gain control over children, even when those problems are the result of the perpetrator’s abuse.
Survivors can feel trapped between perpetrators and systems that are not savvy to these behaviors. The effects of system manipulation on the safety & well-being of adult and child survivors of domestic violence is often long-term, financially devastating, and harmful to child well-being and development. In some instances, these system failures can cause MORE trauma than the initial abuse itself.
In this episode, David & Ruth discuss how domestic violence perpetrators target practitioners in different systems, and why those systems are so vulnerable to these tactics. They highlight the vulnerabilities of family court, criminal justice and child welfare. They discuss how to recognize when a perpetrator is manipulating your system to harm a victim, and how to resist these manipulations.
Learn more about the Model:
- Foundational Elearning: “Safe & Together: An Introduction to the Model”
- Comprehensive Elearning: “Safe & Together Model CORE Training”
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.