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 episodes are deeply personal and sensitive, which may be difficult for some people. We occasionally use mature language. We often use gender pronouns like “he” when discussing perpetrators and “she” for victims. While both and men and women can be abusive and controlling, and domestic abuse happens in straight and same-sex relationships, the most common situation, when it comes to coercive control, is a male perpetrator and a female victim. Men's abuse toward women is more closely associated with physical injury, fear and control. Similarly, very different expectations of men and women as parents and the focus of Safe & Together on children in the context of domestic abuse makes it impossible to make generic references to gender when it comes to parenting. The Model, through its behavioral focus on patterns of behavior, is useful in identifying and responding to abuse in all situations including same-sex couples and women's use of violence. We think our listeners are sophisticated enough to understand these distinctions.
Season 2 Episode 13: An Interview with Courageous Fire: Reparations & the Unique Experience of Black Domestic Violence Survivors
Crafting a domestic violence-informed response to the unique experience of Black domestic violence survivors in the United States requires listening to the voices and lived experience of those survivors. Like other marginalized survivors in systems impacted by racism and colonization across the globe, Black women have to navigate systems that often have penalized and punished them instead of being a support. For example, due to systemic racism and stereotyping, Black survivors are more quickly labeled as 'difficult' victims. Distrust of formal systems, based on historic racism, can make it harder for Black survivors to reach out for the help they need. When survivors do not feel like their experience will be seen and understood, they will not avail themselves of those interventions. Harms become compounded, including the unnecessary removal of children by children protection, when Black survivors are penalized for not using those formal systems.
In this episode of Partnered with a Survivor, Ruth & David interview Courageous Fire, the Executive Director of Courageous Fire LLC , who is a domestic violence survivor and a leader in the movement to create culturally-specific responses to domestic violence in the Black community. Courageous Fire which works exclusively with Black victims & survivors of domestic violence in Iowa. Her model of community assistance is self sustaining, and community driven. She takes cues from the grass roots experiences of Black survivors within her community to bring holistic assistance which isn't 'cookie cutter' but that deeply meets those survivors on multiple levels. In an innovative adaptation of the concept of reparations, Courageous Fire believes that domestic violence survivors deserve to be compensated for their pain and suffering. She wants the abuse (not just the abusers) to "pay survivors back" in practical and financial terms.
Additional themes in this episode include:
Why the Black community has typically resisted contact & reliance on formal services as a way to protect themselves & children Why calling the police is not safe for Black women How systems, which are supposed to keep us safe, have harmed Black women with impunity because of their bias, judgements, assumptions about victim behaviors through a culturally ignorant/arrogant lensHow Courageous Fire LLC helps to bring bring holistic healing & a pathway to financial independence for Black survivors of domestic abuseHow to recognize & see the dynamic resistance of Black survivors as a strength not a deficit. If you want to know more about Courageous Fire & the work please go to: https://www.cfirellc.com/ and https://www.cfirellc.com/specialty
For related episodes:
Season 2 Episode 9: Finally! A realistic feature film about coercive control: An interview with Chyna Robinson and Tracy Rector
Episode 22: When Culture, Religion & Domestic Violence Meet
Season 2 Episode 12: How coercive control harms child safety & wellbeing: An interview with researcher Dr. Emma Katz
For 15 years, the Safe & Together Model has trained professionals in the importance of centering coercive controlling patterns of behaviors if you want to understand the harm domestic abuse perpetrators create for their children & how that is parenting choice. Failures to link coercive control to child abuse & neglect make it easier to blame adult survivors, who are being protective, with failure-to-protect & parental alienation.
The Safe & Together Model's perpetrator pattern-based approach links coercive control in a number of different ways, creating a foundation for a domestic violence-informed practice that helps professionals to partner with survivors and intervene with perpetrators as parents while also mapping the adult survivors attempts to protect children which may not have access to formal services such as police, child protection or counseling because these interventions may not be safe & can create more danger for adult & child survivors.
New research is backing up this approach by exploring how coercive control impacts children directly via multiple pathways to harm. In this episode, Ruth and David talk with Dr Emma Katz, a leading research specialist in the harms caused by perpetrators to mothers and children in the context of domestic abuse. The topics of conversation include:
How perpetrators of coercive control create danger & harm for their children within relationships & post-separationHow professionals & systems are failing to assess the parenting of the perpetrator & how that increases the danger for child & adult survivors How the language of "child exposed to domestic violence" obscures the multiple ways perpetrators harm children & hides the choices of the perpetrator as a parentHow coercive control impacts child safety, wellbeing & family functioning in the absence of physical violence
Access Dr. Katz's Research
Dr. Emma Katz Bio
She is a Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth at Liverpool Hope University and has won multiple awards for her research, including the Corinna Seith Prize, awarded by Women Against Violence Europe in 2016. Emma has also written for the academic journal Child Abuse Review. Her most recent article, ‘When Coercive Control Continues to Harm Children: Post‐Separation Fathering, Stalking and Domestic Violence’, is now available to read and download, as is her 2016 article ‘Beyond the Physical Incident Model: How Children Living with Domestic Violence are Harmed by and Resist Regimes of Coercive Control’, which is one of the journal’s most viewed articles to date. Alongside these, Emma is releasing a book titled Coercive Control in Children’s and Mothers’ Lives which will be published in early 2022 by Oxford University Press.
Season 2 Episode 11: "We need a revolution:" Integration of trauma healing and behavior change for people who choose violence
The discussion of 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 colonisation 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 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 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." )
Season 2 Episode 10: Trauma-informed is not the same as domestic violence-informed: A conversation about the intersection of domestic violence perpetration, mental health & addiction
In this episode of Partnered with a Survivor, David & Ruth tackle one of the most pressing issues in the domestic violence field: how to make mental health and addiction services more domestic violence-informed when it comes to interacting with survivors. While awareness of trauma and its impact continues to increase, it often is decontextualized from the dynamics of coercive control. Mental health and addiction professionals are often ill-prepared by their education and training to integrate coercive control into their assessments. Organizations that are striving to trauma-informed are not always committing to be domestic violence-informed. Domestic violence survivors are often harmed by these gaps.
In this episode Ruth & David, discuss
How perpetrators' can cause and exacerbate existing mental health or addiction issues for adult and child survivorsHow perpetrators' can interfere with other family members' treatment and use their involvement with treatment against themHow systems, like family court and child welfare, may more negatively perceive a survivors' mental health and addiction issues than perpetrators' coercive control How practitioners and organizations may have blindspots regarding how current coercive control dynamics may be impacting survivors' mental health and addiction treatment David & Ruth also tackle how structural sexism, racism and colonisation dynamics are often ignored in mainstream mental health and addiction paradigms to the detriment of clients from oppressed communities. Ruth also shares about how she's been impacted by reading Judy Atkinson's book, Trauma Trails, Recreating Song Lines: The Transgenerational Effects of Trauma in Indigenous Australia
If you like this episode you may want to also listen to the following other episodes of Partnered with a Survivor:
Season 2, Episode 5: How professionals can avoid being manipulated by perpetrators
Season 2, Episode 1: 6 Steps to Partnering with Survivors
Episode 30: 4 Ways the Concept of Trauma Bonding Works Against Survivors
Episode 18: Survivors aren’t Broken! An intimate discussion about support and partnership in relationships
Season 2 Episode 9: Finally! A realistic feature film about coercive control: An interview with Chyna Robinson and Tracy Rector
Domestic violence has been depicted in feature movies before. "Enough," "The Burning Bed" and "Sleeping with the Enemy" depended on star power to draw in their audiences. "Once We Were Warriors," the dark, award-wining New Zealand classic, explored violence in an urban Maori family. Now the multi-award winning feature film "No Ordinary Love" (NOL) joins this pantheon of movies that glues viewers to their seats with view of intimate violence and abuse that is far too familiar to many of us. In this movie, coercive control, the topic of a current global conversation about how best to respond to domestic violence, is center stage.
Join Ruth & David as they interview Chyna Robinson (writer, director, producer) and Tracy Rector (executive producer), the powerhouse pair behind "No Ordinary Love,'' a movie about two families where status and power intertwine with coercive control. In one family the a pastor uses religion as tool of control. In the other family, a survivor struggles with a partner, whose job as a police officer, increases danger instead of safety and protection.
Watch the trailer
From the "No Ordinary Love" website:
"Lines between romantic ideals and control become blurred when Tanya's husband can no longer handle the stress of his career as a police officer. His warm kisses turn cold, and she is left fighting for her life. At the same time, Elizabeth's idyllic life is marred when her charming husband manipulates her into believing that she is going insane. As Elizabeth counsels Tanya, she realizes the signs of abuse in her own marriage. When both women decide to leave, they realize it isn't going to go as smoothly as they'd planned. The escape they seek, turns deadly."
David & Ruth talk to Chyna and Tracy about the mission behind the movie, the artistic choices associated with depicting coercive control, and the strong positive response the movie has already received.
Chyna Robinson, is the award winning writer producer, director, behind the short film, "Greenwood," about the struggle of WWI vet to protect his family during the 1921 racist massacre in Tulsa Oklahoma. Tracy Rector, a domestic violence survivor and veteran of the domestic violence movement in the United States. Chyna & Tracy brought their own personal experiences & cultural perspectives to speak to intersectionalities such as race, religion, the impact of cultural attitudes and systemic failures of entities such as policing & social services toward black women survivors.
Chyna and Tracy will be screening "No Ordinary Love" at many of the upcoming Safe & Together Institute events. We hope you join us and the NOL team for these events.
Check out the "No Ordinary Love" website
Follow "No Ordinary Love" on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Season 2 Episode 8: "I spiraled down to a dark place:" An interview with a young survivor of officer involved domestic violence and his Mum
The voices of children impacted by domestic violence perpetrators are being ignored by professionals.
In this ground-breaking interview, a fourteen year old survivor of officer-involved domestic violence, and his mother speak openly about their experience with systems. Liam, and his mother Michelle (pseudonyms) share how the police colluded with their perpetrator, who was Liam's stepfather. They speak about how Liam and his sister were treated as after thoughts, and not victims in their own right. Alternately between sadness and anger Liam talks about the failures of the police, child welfare and other professionals.
Links to other interviews and stories with Liam and Michelle
Liam’s Op-Ed in the Age
Our interview with the ABC (radio) which caused complaints because a child spoke
An article about Liam and his sister https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.abc.net.au/article/12335894
Two articles about our story published in the Age https://www.theage.com.au/national/hidden-crisis-when-your-domestic-abuser-is-also-the-local-police-officer-20201203-p56k6r.html
This podcast is so needed! As a former victim I wish that the lawyers, judges, and DV center employees had had this type of awareness about abuse. You are doing such a service by addressing the pitfalls and biases around a subject people still have so much to learn about.