DiscoverPartnered with a Survivor: David Mandel and Ruth Stearns MandelSeason 3 Episode 2: Perpetrators' Weaponization of Mental Health and Addiction Against Survivors
Season 3 Episode 2: Perpetrators' Weaponization of Mental Health and Addiction Against Survivors

Season 3 Episode 2: Perpetrators' Weaponization of Mental Health and Addiction Against Survivors

Update: 2022-01-17
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Have you ever seen survivors’ mental health or substance use issues turned against them by a domestic violence perpetrator?  Have you been concerned about a domestic violence survivor’s treatment being sabotaged by an abusive partner?  In this podcast, David Mandel, Executive Director and Founder of the Safe & Together Institute and Ruth Stearns Mandel explore these questions. They also talk about  how  a perpetrator pattern-based approach can help protect survivors against these behaviors. 

The show is broken down into three major themes: 

  • What is weaponization of mental health and addiction?
  • Why is  systems are vulnerable to these manipulations 
  • How we can fix (or perpetrator proof) our systems

David & Ruth talk about how perpetrator's fabricated allegations can gain currency through sheer repetition.  David breaks down emotional abuse into different types of abuse depending on who the perpetrator's audience is.  They also discuss how perpetrators benefit from:

  • the tendency to pathologize/psychologize survivors
  • a lack of focus on strengths
  • how mental health and addiction issues are automatically assumed to reflect on parenting capacity 
  • gender bias about mental health, addiction and parenting 
  • lack of universal coercive control assessment in mental health and addiction 

They explore  strategies for improving clinical practice including assessing how current coercive control is impacting access to treatment.   They discuss how important it is to recontextualize survivors' issues back  perpetrator's patterns of behavior. David & Ruth examine the implications of documentation and reporting to family court and child protection.

If you like this episode you might also like:


Season 2 Episode 19: Using the concepts of collaborative co-parenting to hold perpetrators more accountable in family court

Season 2 Episode 14: How to perpetrator proof custody & access processes

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

Episode 30: 4 Ways the Concept of Trauma Bonding Works Against Survivors

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Season 3 Episode 2: Perpetrators' Weaponization of Mental Health and Addiction Against Survivors

Season 3 Episode 2: Perpetrators' Weaponization of Mental Health and Addiction Against Survivors

Ruth Stearns Mandel & David Mandel