DiscoverPartnered with a Survivor: David Mandel and Ruth Stearns MandelSeason 2 Episode 13: An Interview with Courageous Fire: Reparations & the Unique Experience of Black Domestic Violence Survivors
Season 2 Episode 13: An Interview with Courageous Fire: Reparations & the Unique Experience of Black Domestic Violence Survivors

Season 2 Episode 13: An Interview with Courageous Fire: Reparations & the Unique Experience of Black Domestic Violence Survivors

Update: 2021-07-12
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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 lens
  • How Courageous Fire LLC helps to bring bring holistic healing & a pathway to financial independence  for Black survivors of domestic abuse
  • How 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

https://www.amazon.com/Empowerment-through-Arts-Ignite-Power/dp/B08JF2DDJG/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Empowerment+through+the+Arts%3A+Ignite+Your+Power&qid=1625084046&s=books&sr=1-3

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

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Season 2 Episode 13: An Interview with Courageous Fire: Reparations & the Unique Experience of Black Domestic Violence Survivors

Season 2 Episode 13: An Interview with Courageous Fire: Reparations & the Unique Experience of Black Domestic Violence Survivors

Ruth Stearns Mandel & David Mandel