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Episode 175 - Domestic Abuse with Rebecca Saleman of Shalom Task Force

Updated: Mar 25

This week we are releasing a podcast episode with Rebecca Saleman, the director of the hotline at Shalom Task Force, an organization that supports victims of domestic abuse.

I learned a lot in this interview and I hope we offered a dialogue that can clear up a lot of confusion for those who are unsure about their own marriages or a marriage they see--and are concerned about--from the outside.

The more awareness we can provide about what abuse really is, what is there to support victims, and what NOT to do, the more we can create communities that protect our most vulnerable.


  1. What is the Shalom Task Force and who can benefit from their hotline

  2. What is domestic abuse

  3. How to differentiate between a healthy relationship, an unhealthy relationship, and an abusive relationship

  4. Myths and truths about abuse


  1. You can contact our guest speaker, Rebecca Saleman, at (212) 742-1478 x105

  2. To join the How to Glow community, visit

More About Rebecca:

Rebecca Saleman, LMSW joined Shalom Task Force as the Director of Hotline Services in December 2020. While earning her BA in psychology at Brandeis University, Rebecca held internships with JFSA Cleveland’s KNOW Abuse Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program, The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and JF&CS Boston’s Journey to Safety, TeenSafe Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program. Through these experiences, Rebecca discovered her passion for the prevention and intervention of dating and domestic abuse and pursued her Masters of Social Work at Columbia University School of Social Work. Rebecca completed fieldwork at SCO Family of Services in their foster care department and at Sanctuary for Families, providing therapy to children impacted by domestic violence. After graduating with her MSW in 2015, Rebecca spent two years working as a foster care case planner at New Alternatives for Children. Rebecca was a Relationship Abuse Prevention Program Coordinator in a public middle school, though STEPs to End Family Violence, and an Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative Coordinator at a public high school, though Zufall Health Center. Rebecca is passionate about ensuring access to quality support for survivors of domestic violence and ensuring that everyone has a safe place to ask questions about their relationships.

Ep 175 - Domestic Abuse with Rebecca Saleman of Shalom Task Force ===

<00:00:00> Kayla Levin: Episode 175 Domestic Abuse with Rebecca Saleman from Shalom Task Force. Welcome to How to Glow, where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm certified coach Kayla Levin and I help married Jewish women go from surviving and overwhelmed to thriving and connected through practical tips, real life inspiration, and more than a little self-awareness along the way.

Hello ladies. This is probably not one of the topics that we don't want to ever have to talk about, but I think that whether this is something that you are concerned about for somebody that you know, or if you're not totally sure about what's going on in your <00:01:00> relationship and if it's something that maybe coaching or therapy should be appropriate for, or if it's something more along the lines of abuse.

I think the more information that we all have, the better. The more that we can help other people in our lives, the more clarity we can have about what is going on in our own relationships. And so I'm so grateful that Rebecca Saleman agreed to come onto the podcast with me today. You're gonna hear an amazing conversation.

You know, we were discussing a lot about what we would look at, what would be normal, in a normative marriage or an unhealthy marriage, and then what makes an unhealthy marriage different than an abusive relationship. And I think it's just a really, really valuable conversation to have. I'm not gonna reiterate why, cause we talk about that inside the podcast episode.

I just, I do wanna make one more pitch. She describes really clearly what Shalom Taskforce is there to provide, and I didn't know that going into interview her, I, I really wasn't that clear on what the people on the hotlines are trained to do for the people who call. And I think it's really, really helpful information.

I'm <00:02:00> so glad that I have it because I think that now whenever I'm in a situation where I might have to refer somebody or make that suggestion, I just am a much better advocate with this information in hand. And again, like I said in the beginning, like we say throughout the podcast, we don't wanna have to have this resource, but we do.

And we do need it. And as long as we need it, the more people who can know about it, the more people who can make those, those references, the more people who can encourage people to call or even just put up flyers in the shul bathroom, whatever it is that you're doing, the better. So I hope that you gain as much as I did for this interview and I will leave it there.

Rebecca Saleman, thank you so much for coming on and speaking to us today on the How to Glow podcast.

<00:02:42> Rebecca Saleman: Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

<00:02:45> Kayla Levin: So I just told Rebecca her background is super, super impressive, but I'm gonna let her introduce herself, I'll include the link to her bio on the show notes so people can read it, if they would like to.

<00:02:55> Rebecca Saleman: Thank you. I graduated with my M S W.<00:03:00> And prior to that I had actually done some just college intern work, in prevention education for teen dating violence.

And then I meandered through a little bit of work in the foster care system and actually some teen pregnancy prevention work. But then I found myself back in the domestic violence world, which was where I had just really found very meaningful when I had been doing it back as a college intern.

And so I've been with Shalom Task Force for just about two years. I started on December 1st, 2020 right in the middle of the pandemic. Wow. And, and yeah, so in that time I've been in the role of director of hotline services. So I oversee our about 60 volunteers who staff on the hotline through shifts throughout the day providing insight and support to them.

As well as, making sure that we are staying up to date with best practices in the field and making sure that they have the resources and support that they need to do that work. When I started we had just launched a chat line. And so that is <00:04:00> really the same support.

We provide very much the same type of support that we do on the hotline but in the modality of WhatsApp, s m s texting or through our website. And so we've been working really hard to train volunteers for that program as well. And so yeah, so that's who I am and where I am right now.

<00:04:19> Kayla Levin: So zooming out for people who haven't heard of Shalom Taskforce before, who do you work for and who is it for and what's the sort of overall vision of the organization?

<00:04:25> Rebecca Saleman: Absolutely. So Shalom Taskforce was founded at this point about 30 years ago. And it was actually founded, one of, I think the just really neatest things about it is, like I said, we have about 60 volunteers and so many of those volunteers were, were present and very kind of the integral to the founding of the organization.

But there was a pediatrician in Far Rockaway who was seeing abuse cases in his Jewish patients and particularly Orthodox Jewish patients. And he didn't know what to do with them cuz people didn't feel comfortable reaching out to abuse services <00:05:00> outside of the community. And he approached a handful of women, you know, women who were just very active in the community and said, do something. And so with that, the hotline was born. Wow. And so the hotline primarily serves our area of expertise is Orthodox Jewish survivors of domestic violence. And as we'll talk about more a little bit later in related topics. But we will serve anybody, anybody who calls us will get our attention and time with one of our advocates on the line.

But that is just our area of expertise. There are other agencies that are maybe better suited for somebody who doesn't fit in that category. And so we might refer them, but anyone is able to call us.

<00:05:35> Kayla Levin: And you said domestic abuse, which means we're gonna discuss the category of abuse extensively. Mm-hmm.

That is basically what episode's gonna be about. But to this, this doesn't just necessarily mean within the couple. It could mean child abuse that would also fall into the category of Shalom Taskforce.

<00:05:51> Rebecca Saleman: So child abuse is not our number one area of expertise. We definitely have people reach out to us with those concerns we are just as able to <00:06:00> provide general support there.

But it isn't our area of expertise and we also might help provide information about the next best place to go. But we absolutely are here if somebody doesn't know where to turn either to provide them to support ourselves or to redirect them to the next best place.

<00:06:17> Kayla Levin: Okay. Wonderful. All right. Now I'm glad we got that.

Like that's the foundation. We know who we're, what we're talking about here. Yep. The reason that we wanted to have this conversation we know we're both coming from such different perspectives and I love that and I love that like we're kind of the meeting of the minds here. In that we're both seeing, I guess, two versions of the same thing.

We're both seeing abuse being discussed a lot. Mm-hmm. , and in some cases that's a wonderful thing. and there are maybe some drawbacks to mm-hmm. , how much abuse is being discussed right now, and how, and especially I think that, you know, the main thing, what I really wanna make sure that we get to in this conversation is for people to really feel a little bit more confident in understanding what abuse really is.

Mm-hmm. , <00:07:00> but it's not, you know, this kind of like very fluffy, confusing thing, but like there are some, we can get this to be a little bit of a more concrete working definition for people so that we can use it to support and to help those who need it. And also to not confuse those who might now go down the wrong path if that's not what they need.

Which obviously the first of the two is probably more important, of the two, but both are downsides, right? Mm-hmm. , both are drawbacks. So we wanna sort of get that, that clear a little bit. Yeah. What are you seeing from your perspective?

<00:07:35> Rebecca Saleman: So I think I just wanted to respond to another piece of what you shared, which was I think the idea that our dream is to never have any calls, but we know that abuse is happening. And so when, because we know that and we haven't, you know, yet successfully eradicated abuse, the more calls we get, I think the more we see ourselves as successful. And I think that ultimately, even if people are not experiencing abuse, call us, <00:08:00> right?

That is part of what we can offer them is some information and guidance on what they're experiencing. But hopefully if they've heard it here, they'll come into that call with a lot more clarity. And so what we really, I mean, we see people reaching out, you know, definitely we see some cases that are like that textbook of abuse, which will obviously talk about and define.

And then we see people who are generally just confused about what they're experiencing in their relationship. And we'll see people. , you know, we'll say something like, I don't, I don't know that this is the place for me, but somebody told me to call so I figured I'd give it a try. So we're really seeing people calling at all different, in all different places in their journey of identifying what they're experiencing.

<00:08:41> Kayla Levin: Okay. That's really helpful. And also people can call if they're concerned about a friend or a peer also, right? Like

<00:08:46> Rebecca Saleman: Absolutely. Yeah. So a large portion of our call volume is from what we call internally third party callers, right? That's somebody who's calling on behalf of somebody else. And we are able to provide both, you know, recognition on the <00:09:00> emotional turmoil that might create if it's a loved one, right?

If you're calling about like your sister or your child, right? There's a lot of pain that that person's experiencing. Mm-hmm. that often gets kind of shoved under the rug in service of the person who's experiencing the abuse, but also people just don't quite know how to help. . And so we can definitely provide information on both what survivors have told us, like people who have gotten out of the relationship, right.

And they maybe, you know, in different ways, right? Whether that's directly to Shalom Taskforce, whether that's right. Just national statistics or you know, things like that. What people have said is most helpful to them. And we can help share that with people who call and say like, here are just some things that we know to be helpful and some things that we know to be less helpful.

And so we can provide that information to people who are calling worried about somebody that they care about. Or even just a neighbor, somebody that they don't really know at all, but they're hearing things and they don't really know often, even if they have a responsibility to do something, what that something would be and kind <00:10:00> of grappling with what do I do if I just know it's happening?

Doesn't even mean need to be somebody I know.

<00:10:05> Kayla Levin: Yeah. And I'm, I'm so glad the way that you said this, I think is gonna already clear up maybe one concern that some people might have, which is it's so clear from hearing you speak that we are talking about evidence-based response. This is research oriented response.

This is not, you're gonna call and find some lady who's gonna schmooze with you and then tell you her opinions. Right. like that is not what this hotline is. And of course you, that's so obvious. But I think that for somebody who's not coming from this world, who doesn't even necessarily know how a hotline functions or operates mm-hmm.

especially hearing that it's started by volunteers, it's really important to just remember that we're grounding this all in best practices and research and things like that.

<00:10:42> Rebecca Saleman: Yeah. I think, you know, one thing that I just, it's my favorite fact about Shalom Taskforce is that Shalom Taskforce was founded before the Violence Against Women Act.

The first time it was passed. Wow. Shalom Taskforce predates that by about two year, two years. And what I think is really neat about that is <00:11:00> that means that the Orthodox Jewish world was thinking about this before the US right. And I know you're in Israel, I know there's lots of different, you know, people sitting from different places.

But I think before the US started to recognize it as a problem that needed both funding and research and support. And so yeah, we were founded by volunteers at a time where there was no, like, really, there was no professional movement around domestic violence. And it's a little bit crazy to think that that was like 30 years ago or less, right?

There was no professional movement at the time. So those volunteers were on par with what was happening in the rest of society, right? It was not a evidence-based movement at the time. But in that time since, right, that's when we've been able to really infuse a lot of what we do know about domestic violence, how it operates, what the field says about best practices.

But yeah, it's, you know, the volunteers, we've been really successful with that model because it, it <00:12:00> creates that, also that feeling of. people feel safer talking to people who might be just more like them. Right. I think there's sometimes a fear of talking to a professional, and I hope that that fear can be, you know, dissipated.

Yeah. Yeah. But, but you know, I think that, that there is something really wonderful about talking to somebody who, you know, has been trained in it, understands it has the information that they can offer and provide. But they're, they're on the same level as you. Right. We see our volunteers as helpers.

They're people who are there to help. They are not there to come in and rescue somebody by giving their opinion or their advice, or kind of what they would do. They're not your bubby.

<00:12:37> Kayla Levin: Right. Right. Even if they might and they're not, and I love what you're saying also true. I'm so many people, and myself included, I totally get anxious around authority figures.

Right. It's something I have always coaching myself on and always working on, and so again, that, that feeling too, I know I'm not the only one where mm-hmm. a professional can feel like an authority, and then you mm-hmm. you, you show up very differently in that situation where when you keep it just peer to peer, and that mm-hmm.

creates a whole <00:13:00> level of openness. Okay. I do wanna circle back to this conversation about us throwing it around, but I'm realizing that it's probably much better for us to get really grounded in a working definition of abuse. Plus I wanna make sure that everyone gets that. So if they Yep. Listen to the whole thing, kids come home from school, we're gonna start with that piece.

So Absolutely. I'm handing this one over to the expert here. What, sure. If someone's seeing something, someone's experiencing something, what are they looking for? How do we know?

<00:13:23> Rebecca Saleman: So I think the best way to start this is really right, you said a working definition. We have one that we use. It's very much all encompassing.

Everything we'll talk about later, we can apply to that definition. And so the definition that we use is a pattern of behaviors that one partner uses to gain and maintain power and control in the relationship and instill fear in the relationship. . And so we're talking about a pattern, right? We're not talking about a one-time behavior.

We're talking about something that occurs in, and we'll talk about probably more later in a cycle, right? This pattern. And we're talking about something where one partner has an, <00:14:00> there's an imbalance of power in the relationship, right? So when you're thinking of a couple, when you're thinking of a romantic relationship, when you're thinking of a marriage, you're thinking of people who should be on par with each other, right?

Even if they have different roles, right? Especially right in different communities, you can have very clear differences in gender roles. Or you could just have a family where like one person is the math person and one person is not the math person, and the math person deals with the finances because their brain gets it, right?

Those are different roles, but ultimately the balance of power in a relationship is expected to be, you know, in sync. And what you get with domestic violence is one person actively gaining and maintaining that power and control. And then you have a marriage where, Somebody is not in control. And that's when we kind of talk about like they don't have a voice.

So even if it's not their role, we wanna make sure that both partners feel like they have a voice. Both people can com, you know, can feel safe. Right? And I think that's, that that instilled fear in the relationship pieces. There's also <00:15:00> always this looming threat of if you do something to try to up your power or to down my power to get us closer to even footing, there are consequences.

And that's that fear, that's that fear piece. That kind of is pretty much the thread that, that's like the glue that keeps the abusers control there is that fear.

<00:15:21> Kayla Levin: Okay. We're seeing pattern, we're seeing a power. A power imbalance. Yep. And we're seeing there's some kind of threat or fear. Yep. Intentionally being put in there.

<00:15:32> Rebecca Saleman: Yep, yep. So there's kind of this, this looming threat of some consequence if the other person were to try to do something to either, like I said, improve their power space or, or bring the other person Okay. To a more, into a more level space.

<00:15:50> Kayla Levin: I'm glad you brought that one up. I just wanna give one example of where this could be confusing.

Mm-hmm. . So you gave the example of, of money, right? Like the one person's, the numbers person's one person's not. And one thing <00:16:00> that that I learned about, which I didn't have before, which is this idea that like, the person who owns an area needs to be the person who has the veto. Mm-hmm. . So let's say one person has full responsibility for making sure that you match the budget and the other person comes along and is like, hi, I wanna paint all the walls.

Mm-hmm. . And then the person in charge of running the budget might be like, no, we can't do that. So outside, I'm obviously not talking about abusive relationship right now. Mm-hmm. , I'm talking about a normal relationship. Right. But that can already feel like very scary. Like, well I just was, I was just vetoed, I was just totally told no what's going on here.

Mm-hmm. , so then you followed up with this extra piece of like, it, it could be that one person is like, no, we can't do that. I mean, as. . We do that also. I mean, I do all child, you can't give the kids that you can't do that. Like, right. We can say no. We can have areas where we feel our responsibility, but the other person isn't scared.

They'll be punished if they challenge that authority, right? Mm-hmm. when, and that could become a conversation. So no, does not equal abuse, no. With consequences. And fear is <00:17:00> maybe is the red flag that we wanna

<00:17:01> Rebecca Saleman: watch out. And, and I think also just that other piece of like, is there a voice? Does somebody have a voice?

Right? So if, if you've kind of agreed that, right? One partner is the one who understands money, right? And so they primarily manage the budget. So yeah, they have the clear information, right? Like, we can't swing that this month. It just, like, I'm looking at the numbers, we can't swing it, right? And then, but let's say, you know, an example may be not like painting the room, but an example we often kind of use in training as we get people thinking about this is like, you know, you went over a budget on the kid's clothing and so, and then there's this vacuum cleaner that you need, right?

And so like, What if there's two, but like now let's take away the vacuum cleaner. There's dinner, right? The kids need clothes and the kids need food, right? And so if somebody is in charge of the budget, and then there's like a, I'm concerned you're saying we don't have it, but also we need, we need to figure this out.

And then there's then room to kind of problem solve it together. Mm-hmm. versus kind of this very much like, Nope, <00:18:00> figure it out. I don't care if you know, you are the one who's causing your kids not to eat because you Yeah. Spent too much money on clothes. So if there's also that kind of, then you get into that naming and blaming piece there.

So I think ultimately, right, if the person has a voice to say like, Hey, I know it's really tight, but like, let's work this out together. And there's room to figure that out, right? There's voice there. Somebody can speak up, come to some, there's room to express. Or like, you know, oftentimes let's say it isn't an issue of like, , there isn't money in the bank account, but an issue of just like, this isn't how I decided we're spending the money.

Right. But if somebody could say like, is there room to, to try to adjust your budget that you made? Because we really do need both of these things. Right? Right. You know, and I think another thing is right, we think about this when there are, they're lots of expenses for people in their right, especially in this day and age, but add on day school tuition, add on kosher food, right?

There's like a lot, a lot of expenses. <00:19:00> But there are also people who are on a very strict budget and it's not for lack of money. And I think that's another space where you start, like if there's a budget, because that is the responsible thing to do, or is there a budget where somebody's getting an allowance that is a much smaller portion of what the family can actually afford.

Mm-hmm. , right? So if somebody knows that there is plenty of money. from the, you know, just knows enough to know what the salaries are, things like that. And they're still not allowed to spend certain Right. Things. That's also where you might see that. Right. It's not like they, yeah, they made the budget, but they made the budget in an unreasonably narrow way.

<00:19:43> Kayla Levin: So I think that also, and we can go back to the power balance here, cuz like, I let your paradigm really covers everything. Because again, right. I, I'm, I'm like always my brain's going to all the exceptions. Right? , you can't be focused here. But then let's say we have a person who has financial trauma or something like that mm-hmm.

right? And so they're extremely <00:20:00> tight on the budget, but they're, they wouldn't then spend themselves and only allow their partner to spend very little Yep. Right? Yep. They, they would be, it would be across the board. So we wanna leave room, I guess is what I'm saying for, there's lots of different versions of unhealthy , right?

Yes. And the more information you have, , the more empowered you are to find out what solution you need. Mm-hmm. And that's really what mm-hmm. , I think we're both trying to provide here. Mm-hmm. is how do we figure out if we're looking at an abusive situation, an unhealthy situation to people who are massively sleep deprived and just need a break.

Mm-hmm. , right. Or Yeah. You know, what's normative, what's not normative, and which version of not normative are we talking about? Yeah. You didn't say anything about hitting and I know you wanted to

<00:20:40> Rebecca Saleman: talk about this. Yep. So, so I think it's one of the, yeah, so it's one of the biggest myths I think, and that is just like really hard to squash that abuse is specifically physical violence.

We hear from survivors all the time that actually the physical violence is sometimes the least notable piece to them. And that really what we're talking about. Right. <00:21:00> So we were talking a lot about financial abuse just now as we kind of got to that example, but we're talking about emotional abuse, verbal abuse.

We're talking about religious abuse. There's definitely, you know, there are examples of how somebody might. Pit somebody between their relationship, you know, with God. There's sexual abuse, right, which is also often physical, but it's not always, it doesn't always overlap. And all of these types of abuse, right?

I think emotional is often a thread, right? It is a slow, steady degrading of somebody's sense of self and sense of self-worth and sense of self-esteem. And that might be done using verbal tactics, right? Like put downs, insults that may, might be done by gaslighting, right? Which is kind of this psychological abuse of, you know, basically causing somebody to call their own sense of reality into question.

That's also done by just blaming in general, right? Like, if you didn't do this, this wouldn't happen. And over time those messages start to. Just become internalized by somebody. <00:22:00> Cuz if you hear it enough times by somebody you expected, and you probably still do love, right? People can love their abusers.

It's, it's feelings are not like so simple. They're, they're complex. And so all of these other types of abuse are really, that is what abuse is. And physical abuse is one tactic, right? We talk about like almost the toolkit for an abuser, right? How does an abuser abuse and there is kind of this predictable toolkit, right?

It's, it's all of these types of abuse. I mean, physical is just one of those types. But we hear from people all the time that they go to get support from a friend, a community member, and they're told nothing physical is happening. It's not abuse. . And I think if you think back to that definition, right, pattern of behaviors, those behaviors can be physical, but more often there are any number of those other types of abuse, right?

A pattern of behaviors that one partner uses to gain and maintain power and control in the relationship and instill fear that I've never met, I didn't mention physical at all there, right? There is nothing about that that is inherently <00:23:00> physical. And you know what we often find, right? I often say like when I'm doing, when I, you know, back when I was doing more teen education programming on dating violence, somebody showed up to a first date and they got slapped in the face, they probably would not come back, right?

They were probably wouldn't be a sec, a second date. And I think if you think about how these things develop in a kind of cyclical but slow pattern, right? That's when you might see escalation to physical violence. But you're likely not seeing that at the beginning because usually it takes time for the abuser to gain that power, gain that control, and only once that control is there, might you see that escalation to physical. And so, yeah, so I'm, I'm kind of describing this cycle and I'll just jump in and actually describe it, right. There's a very kind of well-documented cycle of, and it's often depicted in a circle.

I happen to like a wave model, which kind of shows that it also, like the cycle keeps going, but it, it changes over time, both in intensity and <00:24:00> frequency. But the cycle basically right? There's this honeymoon period, and that's both at the beginning of a relationship, right? During courting, during maybe early dating.

And that's like often people will describe when they're describing an abusive relationship from the other side. Maybe they've gotten out and they've kind of done a lot of ti, spent a lot of time healing. They'll describe that the highs in an abusive relationship are way higher than the highs in a healthy relationship.

And that's not an accident, right? The abuser is kind of having these, sometimes it's big gestures, sometimes it's, you know, just really loving. Sometimes it's gifts, right? Whatever that is for that. In that couple, there's a feeling of calm, and often more than calm, there's a feeling of like, wonderful, right?

It's a really wonderful time. Sometimes more wonderful than other relationships, right? And then you kind of move into this tension building phase, which is where, right, you're starting to see that tension building, right? And it's, that's where you'll start to see, <00:25:00> right? The, like a peppering in of those things I described, right?

Let downs, blaming, yelling, cursing. Sometimes also, like a thing that comes up a lot is the silent treatment, right? Controlling when conversation can happen. You might see, you know, any of those,

<00:25:14> Kayla Levin: isn't that a big one? Or isolating the from her friends or his friends.

<00:25:18> Rebecca Saleman: And so you'll see with isolation, it's often, you know, it's, it's often done part of almost this like, sweet, it often has this sweet thing.

Like, I, I, I really just, I wanna spend time with you. I know you are gonna go out with your friends, but I really wanna spend time with you. Or like, I, you know, I just don't love those, those friends I, they're, I just don't really like those ones. Right. Or, you know, you know, I really, you know, I have a really hard time when we spend all of, you know, a whole weekend with your family and then the next time I have a really hard time when we spend a day with your family, right?

So it's, it's slow, it's deliberate. It's not like, you know, zero to 60 where, you know, but it's, it's this building over time. And sometimes, you know, it's, it's really sweet. I <00:26:00> want to spend more time with you because I love you, right? So I'm, I need you. And then there's this kind of slow, you know, thing where like the person is flaking on their friends a lot, their friends inherently, reasonably, so start to pull back, right?

And so then the person finds themselves feeling like they have nobody to turn to. And that was not an accident on in that, right? Abusers aren't necessarily sitting there planning this out, but it all comes from this framework of Right. The abuser believes it is their fundamental belief that they have the right to control.

And so that kind of enables them to do these things in a way where it is deliberate. It's not like they're necessarily, there's not like a clear, like they don't have a, you know, a secret notebook with a plan, right? But, but they, they're, they're leaning into these tools, right? That they, that they've kind of created and for themselves.

And so you have that isolation, right? And then ultimately going kind of in that cycle. Then you have usually an <00:27:00> explosive incident. And so that, you know, might be physical, but it might be yelling, it might be right silent treatment, just completely. disconnecting and saying, I control when we talk, it might be breaking something or, you know, or when, going back to finances, right?

Cutting an allowance if, if that's part of the abuse that's happening. And then usually you find that there is now another period of calm. So that kind of then starts to bring the person back in. And what that really does is it creates hope, right? Like I know that this relationship can be great and if I just figure out how to stay here and not have the other part of the cycle, right?

Stay in this honeymoon place. I know it, I know it can be done cuz it keeps happening. There's also, right, just like there's that feel, yeah, there's the feeling of love. I love this person when they're like this, right? Mm-hmm. . I don't quite love them when they're like that, but I love them when they're like this.

And so that kind of creates that, it's really confusing <00:28:00> for somebody, right? How do I make sense of the fact that. . Sometimes my husband or my wife or my partner is like this and sometimes they're like that. And there's often promises of not doing it again. Right. So you'll see, right. I I know I should not have done that.

I just lost my temper. Right. And we'll talk, we can talk a little bit more about that idea of losing temper, right? I just lost my temper. I promise I won't do it again. And of course I do it again cuz it's a cycle. But each time those promises maybe even get bigger, right? I will do anything to show you that I won't do it again.

Right. Whatever that is. And ultimately that cycle kind of just, it continues to fester and then that's where you might see escalation. The, the more times you go around that circle, if you're doing circle model right, the often quicker you go around that circle and the higher intensity, those explosive incidents might be,

<00:28:50> Kayla Levin: this is a little bit like off topic, but I, I mean it's not off topic, but not in the same but whatever.

How, what, what are, what are we seeing now in terms of <00:29:00> statistics for male versus female abusers? And obviously reporting is gonna be very different. Mm-hmm. , I'm assuming what, what's the story now?

<00:29:09> Rebecca Saleman: So it's a really good question. And I know that, you know, the CDC comes out with statistics and, you know, other bodies come out with statistics and the numbers are definitely right.

We definitely know that there is a higher prevalence of abuse happening from male perpetrators to female survivors. There's a lot of reasons for that. Some of it has to do with kind of the just inherent ideas of masculinity in society and that it's just kind of, it primes people who maybe were already possibly at risk of being an abuser.

Right. Did primes them kind of empower, it gives them that next, that like empowerment to move ahead. But also I think, well, no, that right reporting's really messy, especially for something where, , you know, people don't wanna come forward. So I would definitely say that probably both are underreported.

That's just kind of a guess. Yeah. But, you <00:30:00> know, we definitely do hear from men who are being abused. For sure. I also, you know, I think there's also a reporting bias where we've normalized it more for women to come forward and the barriers are different for men. And so they may also come forward in a different way or it might be harder to come forward.

And then there are definitely also, right, there's abuse happening in same sexual relationships. It, it does not discriminate unfortunately. And so I don't love citing the actual numbers that we have cuz I, you know, they're, they're evidence based, they're means tested, they're all of those things. But I, I think that unfortunately the prevalence is just too many.

Yeah. Yeah.

<00:30:37> Kayla Levin: Okay. That's very helpful. So, so I wanna discuss, I wanna keep, keep coming back to your framework mm-hmm. and now bring in. unhealthy relationships. Mm-hmm. , whether it's unhealthy to the degree that maybe they're gonna end up breaking up or unhealthy in that they're going, they maybe have, like we said, well we were schmoozing before, but you know, a couple with dealing with complex trauma or with mental health diagnosis or <00:31:00> lack of diagnosis mm-hmm.

or, you know, whatever the thing might be there once someone's just going through an extremely challenging mm-hmm. alternative of life and does not have the tools to deal with it. So how can we, like you gave the example a say of somebody losing their temper, right? Yep. Most couples fight, right? Yep. And most of, often when I speak to women, they are extremely flooded and overwhelmed after that.

Mm-hmm. , right? Yeah. So it's very normal to not just fight, but to feel like something dangerous is happening. Mm-hmm. . So how can we use your paradigm to, again, give ourselves a check of mm-hmm. , this is something that we need to make sure that we're getting some support. Speak to Sean taskforce or someone else that's in a professional in this area.

Yep. Versus, you know, and, and, and then let's make sure that we go into also like, why that might be different.

<00:31:50> Rebecca Saleman: Yep. So I think we like to think about it often as a relationship spectrum. So you kind of have healthy, and in healthy. We also talk about healthy enough, right? Not every relationship is <00:32:00> gonna quite have it figured out.

Most probably won't, but healthy enough, right? Means that there's a general idea of safety, there's a general feeling of having some tools to navigate these stressors, right? And then you move into maybe what we call unhealthy, maybe even a little bit toxic, right? And that is likely to feel right. I'm not gonna say that that pain is any less significant than somebody experiencing abuse, right?

They're different, but they're, they're both equally painful. . And so I think recognizing that nobody's saying, if you're not experiencing abuse, your pain doesn't matter, right? Mm-hmm. that pain is real, and being hurt in a relationship is right, is painful. But I think if you are trying to find a way to tease those apart, I think it comes back the death to that idea of power and balance.

So if two people hold the same amount of power, it's just not quite where you wanna be. Right? If those, if the power is the same, but they're both fighting all the time and they're both kind of hurting each other, right? That's wouldn't, <00:33:00> right, that wouldn't meet that criteria for abuse because it's not imbalance.

There's not an imbalance of power. There's not one partner gaining and maintaining power and control over the other. And you definitely will see though, right? That in abuse sometimes you will see somebody who occasionally, right? As much as they don't have the power, they will do something when they feel.

particularly scared or when it's kind of built up so much and they might respond with even maybe the first bit of physical violence in the relationship might be coming from the survivor, right? I felt so scared and threatened, right? That I ha I pushed right? Or something like that. But I think you're looking at, again, it's that pattern and it's looking at it over time and it's looking at how it built and how it developed.

And if you kind of look at any isolated moment, you won't be able to tell, right? You would. There isn't really a good way to identify that. And ultimately it's about right, that imbalance of power. And I think if you think about that imbalance of power, again, <00:34:00> your pain is no right? If you have the same amount of power and you're both hurting, your pain is no less significant.

The things you might do to get support right might be different. Both sets of people can call Shalom Taskforce because Shalom Taskforce is available to provide support to people struggling in relationships. . That, or, or like, like you said, people worried about somebody struggling in relationships.

So it's not that like if you don't meet the criteria for abuse, you cannot call Sean taskforce. Absolutely not. But that's something that can help somebody kind of start to make sense of their own experience.

<00:34:31> Kayla Levin: Let's just talk a little bit about why, why we might wanna go a different route.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. , if it's clearly an abusive situation versus like, I'll, I'll give you mine first and then I want, I want you to shift mm-hmm. . So for me, a lot of what I do is relationship education, understanding differences between communication and things like that. What I worry about haven't I've never experienced this to my knowledge inside of, with, with any of the people that I've worked with.

But what I worry about is that the more that we focus on understanding the other <00:35:00> partner, I guess mm-hmm. for my women, wor working to understand their husbands. The, the more she's going to just keep trying to twist herself into a pretzel to mm-hmm. keys mm-hmm. , and try and get back to that sweet spot of the relationship.

Mm-hmm. , as opposed to, so it's almost like it just gives her one more rabbit hole to go down mm-hmm. before she has to just step back and address like, what is really going on right now in this relationship. Mm-hmm. . And so that's the reason that I really just encourage people not mm-hmm. to work with, with me or similar type coaches.

You know, it's, are, are these in, is this information super valuable and life-changing? Yes. Is it what you need to be doing if you're in an abusive relationship? No. It's, it's not your next step. And so, yeah, that's from my side.

<00:35:42> Rebecca Saleman: Yeah. So I think one thing even that I just as you were describing, kind of twisting up into a pretzel, I often also think about, right.

Somebody experiencing abuse is also probably making themselves very small, right. To protect themselves. They can't. Present their full self. And so I think, right, if you see somebody making themselves <00:36:00> small again, that might look like, right? Oh, somebody who just doesn't know how to communicate. But what we know is that oftentimes we ultimately, the survivor, the person in the, in the relationship is the best, best expert at keeping themselves safe.

And so what might seem super obvious to you or me of what they should be doing, they know that isn't the right choice. They've been able to kind of almost like, it's almost, it's a game of trial and error of often, right? Like, I did this and it had consequences, so I'm not gonna do that again. And they often, people in these, in these experiences, right?

And these relationships can really tell you, like, I spend so much energy and time figuring out what not to do. I've, I've done a pretty good job at that and I know how to kind of keep things more at bay, right? I know what not to do, but that's the person, right? Kind of, that's part of their slow kind of, Degrading of their sense of self, right?

They are making themselves really small in order to stay safe. And I think <00:37:00> that what often happens though is right, the person who is the survivor in the relationship right, is the person. And when I say survivor, a lot of times people often kind of, I'm just gonna do a tangent here, but think that I'm talking to only somebody who has gotten out.

But I think if you think about the amount of survival that is happening in an abusive relationship at any given moment, I think you'll start to recognize, no, I'm using survivor to mean somebody who is being harmed by their abuser in their relationship because they are, every moment is, is a test of survival.

Because ultimately the kind of highest point of escalation is homicide. And thankfully, you know, we have number of resources in places a society to help protect from that. But that is kind of the ultimate escalation, right? Of an abuse arc would be homicide. And so somebody is, doing what they need to do to keep themselves safe.

And so that was my tangent on language. Lemme try to get back where I was. But right. So, but a survivor knows their safety <00:38:00> needs best and so you or I can't tell them what to do. And that's why we will, we right on the hotline, but also when we're talking to people about caring for a friend, do not tell a survivor that they need to leave.

I think that's, you know, we were talking a little bit earlier when we were schmoozing about kind of people crowdsourcing, relationship advice, you know, from Facebook when they don't know where else to turn. And often you'll see like somebody will share kind of often it, right? Think, thankfully Facebook finally figured out that anonymous posting option and people will share really harrowing situations and you'll see like hundreds of comments, one after the other run, right?

All caps, exclamation points, get out of it. Right? And I think what is missing there is this idea that the person can't necessarily safely run. Running, right? If we're talking about that imbalance of power, and we're talking about kind of the consequence of one person, right? The survivor trying to increase their power to be on par, right?

Leaving is the biggest <00:39:00> shift to that power dynamic. And so it's also the most dangerous time in a relationship, right? It is the time where the ante is up as high as it can be, right? And that's why, right? That's where you most, some commonly see, right? Severe injury, right? Ality homicide, that is the moment that it is most dangerous.

And a most survivors, even if they've never heard somebody speak about this, just know that inherently it's intuitive. They feel it in their core, that leaving would put them at risk. And so I think remembering that kind of, they are the expert in what is safest for them. And that can allow you then to figure out kind of next steps.

And I think for anybody who is a survivor who might be listening to this, Remembering to give yourself the credit that you are the expert in what is safest for you. And as much as it would be super, like people would love, I would love to be able to, right? Somebody calls the hotline and says, what do I do?

I'd love to be able to tell somebody the answer, but I don't know right. What is safest because I'm not in that relationship. <00:40:00> So that was kind of a tangent, I apologize, but but, but, you know, but I think that in thinking about then what, what are, what are some options, right? For somebody who maybe either thinks they might right, has kind of identified that they might be an abusive relationship, isn't quite sure, but they're wondering, right?

So ultimately, you know, therapy can be a tremendously valuable resource, right? For giving somebody both tools, right? Some concrete skills of navigating things as well as space to just process what they're experiencing and figure out what that means for them and what, what. kind of weighing different pieces.

And that can be a slow process, right? That people could be in therapy for years trying to figure this out. Some people might, you know, find that they just needed some clarity and, and then, you know, they might make a decision. But ultimately, you know, we talked earlier about right, that kind of fear of authority, that fear of kind of a professional and ultimately just, you know, it's about fit.

I often talk about, right, when you're seeking a professional date, your therapist, right? You're not gonna necessarily pick the <00:41:00> first one that you were referred to or that had space or things like that. But ultimately, right, there are therapists who are really well, right? They are well equipped to provide support to people both who are, who are, have no plans to leave the relationship.

There are people who stay in abusive relationships. Or for many, many years for so many reasons. And I feel like we can have a whole nother conversation about that. Right. But there are gazillions of reasons why somebody might choose to stay. Some of that is just basic safety. They know that leaving is more dangerous and they aren't able or willing to take that, that significant risk.

But then there's all sorts of community factors. You know, people will walk.

<00:41:38> Kayla Levin: I I'm so glad that you brought that up, you know, because I think it's, you know, when I'm thinking through all the objections someone might have of calling and asking for help mm-hmm.

so we already addressed, well, I'm not sure if this is abuse or not, doesn't matter. Sean. Task force is gonna help you regardless of the situation. And another one is they'll just tell me to leave. Yep. And they'll, if you're saying they already know that they can't do that. So now saying No. How can we <00:42:00> support you based on your decisions and what you are going to do?

This person still gets to be the authority. Yep. And I think that that creates such a safety. . Yeah. Not to go just one power play to another of another person saying, this is what you need to be doing.

<00:42:13> Rebecca Saleman: Yep. And I think what we find sometimes is that people who have spent so much of their life being told what to do, they actually feel very, can feel very overwhelmed by somebody giving them choice.

But we definitely, right. We don't wanna mi mimic the tactics of the abuser, right? In an attempt to help somebody. Right. Even if the intentions are good, we really wanna make space. I think a lot of what I talk about, the goal of the hotline is we are make, we are holding space for somebody, right?

Like, I often think about it when I'm talking to some of our volunteers as we're training new ones, right? If you know somebody has this really heavy backpack and for an hour you can hold it for them for 40 minutes, for half an hour, whatever, it's 20 minutes, right? However long somebody stays on, that's not gonna make the backpack no longer, right?

At the end of that time, you <00:43:00> have to give them back their backpack, right? Like, that's kind of, but. , having 20 minutes of no backpack might be enough for you to stretch yourself out, right? To kind of get some relief and to kind of enable you then to take the backpack back with a, it feels different right after having a brick.

And so I think often, like it's somebody who can hold space for you, who can kind of carry that with you for the time that you're on with them. And can we believe you? I think that's a big thing, right? Like, there's so many people who will talk to other people and like, you know, it's not uncommon though.

There are also plenty of abusers who don't fit this description, but for abusers to be huge you know, leaders in the community, you know, people who are on, you know, volunteer, E M T, right? Ela, they're, you know, donating their time, their money, their energy, people love them. They give multiple shears and classes and all of those things, right?

For the community. And so it makes it really hard if somebody does <00:44:00> choose to speak up. because that's like a completely different version of this person. Right. And that's not uncommon, right? Nobody will believe me because what I'm describing is a complete opposite to what, you know, to what is being seen by the general public.

And I think that knowing that you have a place to call where you will be believed, right? That is inherently, I think just a tremendous value. And, you know, and that's, that's why we're here. We're here to make sure that you have a space where you feel believed.

<00:44:30> Kayla Levin: If you do think that it's a abusive situation, a great idea to talk to she Hass course what would, other than like marriage classes or things like that mm-hmm.

where we're getting very into communication or like motivations or things like that. What, what else might not be a great choice.

<00:44:44> Rebecca Saleman: Absolutely. So, you know, I think when I, when I talk about therapy, right? and I was kind of really focused on the idea of individual therapy, right? Therapy to provide skills or just a space for somebody to process.

And that is right, an individual therapy relationship that is the <00:45:00> survivor seeking therapy for themselves. When it comes to kind of couple, a lot of people kind of jump straight to I need couples therapy to fix my relationship. If, right, if, if I'm going to kind of be able to hold onto this relationship, I don't want it to end for, again, gazillion reasons.

Some of it might even be like I was married once before already. I can't be the person who's been divorced twice. Right? Like, that might even be enough of a, a societal stigma and shame to keep somebody in the relationship. And so they see I need to do something. It kind of, there's this obvious, oh, couple therapy, and I think what you know is key to understand when you're talking about this imbalance of power is that there's two main risks, I think overall.

One is that, right? We talked about abusers often being very charming, being very well loved, and even the best therapist may not be able to see through that because they are making assessments based on what they're being given, right? What's coming up in the room, and if they're getting a very different picture, right?

There are some survivors who present, not very put together <00:46:00> because they've been, right. If you think about kind of the way trauma impacts the brain, they might be stunted at kind of where the trauma started. So if they got married at 18, at 20, at 25, right? You might be talking to somebody 20 years later, five years later even, and you're getting a, a very different presentation, right?

You're getting somebody who might not present. , you're star client, right? And then you're getting this, their spouse who's presenting as this star person. And so even the best therapist really may not be able to pick up on that because the abuser won't let it happen. And so that just creates a risk of first of all, it just not being effective.

But then what often happens, right, for therapy to be, to be effective, right? The therapist has to create safety for vulnerability. And also then somebody needs to ultimately be vulnerable. And that therapy is a very vulnerable space. And if the person who's right, the survivor and the relationship is working really hard to do everything they can to try to improve the relationship, and meanwhile they have a partner who's not doing anything, they're not putting any work to improve the relationship, right?

<00:47:00> Then you get somebody being vulnerable in session where there is a third party. . And then as soon as you leave all of that vulnerability that was shared and open is ripe for being turned into ta kind of incorporated into tactics of abuse. It gets weaponized, essentially. Yep. Ab absolutely. And so that's where there can be really a lack of safety.

That can absolutely come from couples therapy when it, when there's abuse. So we very much say couples therapy when there's abuse is completely contraindicated. It's not effective and it's not safe. And obviously safety is the number one priority. And so we see right. People though, they're, they're confused by that.

Right? They're like, but I thought couples therapy is the thing I do when my marriage is, is not going smoothly. And so we will provide that, you know, off. But often, most often people will already tell us what that they figured it out. They just haven't quite made that link. So we'll say like, you know, we've been seeing a couples therapists, it's not helping at all.

Or, you know, my husband is so charming, or my wife is so charming, right? That. , I don't think the therapist <00:48:00> will, will understand what's going on. Like they'll tell us those things and then we'll often just kind of link it to what we know about couples therapy. But we're, they're really right. I think so much of what, what we don't give enough credit to is the survivor knows all of these things, right?

They're, they're all things that they've known kind of deep in their core, haven't survived this abuse for however long they've been enduring the abuse. But sometimes just giving that clarity of like that is a what you're saying, that's not just you. Yeah. That's a thing. Right? That's a thing that makes sense.

It makes sense in a larger context and it makes sense exactly as you're describing, right? Your fear about couples therapy is because you should be scared, right? There is a reason to fear that, you know, and I think that, wait, when we're talking about kind of some of those other, . Right. And what I will say is show 'em task force, right on the hotline.

We can't assess whether it's abuse or not. That's just not, we don't have enough time data. We don't, right? We don't get to know callers in that way. That's the one of kind of, we are an anonymous <00:49:00> hotline. You can share however much information you'd like, but ultimately, right, we are anonymous and each time you call it is its own support.

So there isn't a building, a developing of an ongoing relationship with a person who calls or, or texts us. And so we can't make that assessment for you. And so oftentimes, right, the best way to assess that is to at least start the work individually. And maybe then you'll start to get some clarity and maybe then, right.

You might move into like, okay, I don't, I really don't think there's abuse here. Maybe couple's therapy would be warranted, but I think that we very much err on the side of safety and we are right. We are very careful not to put somebody at risk and that Right. Giving a couple's therapy referral very much often.

could put them at risk. Okay. But if you're talking,

<00:49:45> Kayla Levin: I was gonna say really quick, just so there's not a misunderstanding. You don't have to go to an individual therapist to confirm abuse if you already know it's abusive. Correct. If you know you're gonna relationship, that is all the information that you need.

Yep. I just wanna touch absolutely, super clear. Now I was thinking that they, you know, need a, a stamp <00:50:00> of approval from somebody that

<00:50:01> Rebecca Saleman: Absolutely, that is a really good point. You've already figured, yeah, that is a really good point. Right. The therapist might be somebody who can help you navigate it if you don't know, and you need the space to think that through.

But absolutely no, you are the one who determines right. What you're experiencing. And there is no, there's no official, you know, checkbox that you need to hit for somebody to tell you. Yep. That's abuse. You know, and I think. So, right. But in addition to that, p some people right, don't have any interest in seeing a therapist for any number of reasons, right?

There's some really fantastic books that exist. One that we reco, we really refer people to a lot is Lisa Tokis. I'm so confused. Am I being abused? It's a book that really outlines kind of very slowly, right? A lot of these dynamics and then somebody can kind of read it and you're not gonna hit everything, right?

No abusive relationship is gonna be abusive in every single possible way, but if you start noticing and seeing things in the book that that is what you're experiencing, right? That can provide some clarity. And you know, <00:51:00> sometimes it's just we, people will call us for years, right? We don't have an ongoing relationship, but they'll tell us, right?

I've called, you know, for years and I'm just trying, you know, like they're still just trying to figure it out, and that's okay too. Yeah. There's no, there's no one timeline or pace that anybody needs to go through this journey. .

<00:51:17> Kayla Levin: So I wanna circle back to this original, this original conversation mm-hmm.

which is, I don't know, what's the chicken and what's the egg here? Mm-hmm. , is it that be, I mean, and it doesn't matter. Maybe more and more people started to understand abuse and the, the nuances of abuse, that it's not just some guy beating up some girl, but that there's the whole pattern and there's a whole history mm-hmm.

and it's not just physical and all of these things. Right. And so now people especially, we're talking about, you know, the, the Facebook, the, what's your phrase? It was so good that I love Oh, crowdsourcing, sourcing marriage information. Yes. Right. So the crowdsourcing then, you know, maybe more people started to be able to identify that's abusive, that's abusive, but then at some point the scales tipped.

And now it just seems like it's becoming, like, there's this watershed of like, so many things are just immediately Right, right off the bat. And that really, <00:52:00> really concerns me. You said also you've experienced it from the other side where sometimes things should be, why aren't people, so, you know, there's just the Facebook algorithm for you, showing you that we're all, we're, we're seeing our thing.

, what concerns me the most is that now we sort of circled around where now, oh, if I, if everyone's just calling it abuse, then it's never abuse. Right. Like

<00:52:22> Rebecca Saleman: we, and yeah. And so I think, like you said, it, it's not just the Facebook a algorithm though. That's true too. But I think there is some degree of probably right.

Sampling bias and Right. The work that I'm doing and the work that you're doing and what you're seeing. But I think that, you know, I haven't seen as much of that. Right. I think that idea of like, everything's abuse, let's just kinda like throw it all under a catch all and, and kind of then take away the right, the meaning of abuse.

I haven't come across that as much. I'm sure you have. Right. But I think that speaks to the difference in just who's reaching out to who. And I think that this conversation provides insight either way. Right. It's right. , I am being abused. <00:53:00> Somebody like listen to this goes like, oh, that that does fit what I'm doing, right?

What, what I'm experiencing? Or you have the opposite where somebody's like, oh no, that doesn't quite fit. Let me figure out what, what is happening. Right? That, that kind of working definition can very much be very helpful either way. But I think, you know, in, in thinking about this idea of kind of everything being labeled as abuse and kind of what does that mean?

I think it's also just really important to be cautious because that is a tool that abusers can use. Right.

<00:53:28> Kayla Levin: Please explain why I think this is really important.

<00:53:31> Rebecca Saleman: Yeah, so basically I think that there are definitely abusers who can hide behind this idea. Like, well, everyone's calling everything abuse these days.

Like here I am now, I'm being accused of be being an abuser. And there's also kind of this myth and, you know, our legal team, we, so just, I'll add we have, I've mentioned our education department a little bit. We also have a legal team and they provide free support to survivors of domestic violence. The degree of support depends on a number of factors, both geography, but, you know, and just capacity.

<00:54:00> But they're, they are there to answer legal questions. Legal questions might be around finances or custody. If you choose to leave. Legal questions might be around, you know, who owns what parts of the house, right? There's a lot of, a lot of legal nuances, right, when you're talking about separating, but also even if you're not looking to separate, you just kind of wanna understand like, what are your rights, right?

That is our legal team. They are. Really skilled at this, this is the work that they do day in and day out. They really know, right, how to provide guidance, right? So legal advice as well as just kind of legal information. But I bring that up because there's kind of in this myth that like once somebody claims abuse in the court system, they're like, okay, straight shot to get in custody.

And it's like almost seen as like this tactic that somebody might use if they want custody and they wanna kind of manipulate the courts. But what they're seeing in reality is no, if, if somebody is using, if somebody is bringing up abuse that makes the case way harder, it is not a good <00:55:00> strategy to try to like shoot straight through to get custody.

Once abuse is mentioned, the case gets much harder. And so it is unlikely, right, that an attorney is going to use a strategy that is a short shot to making their li their job harder. And I, but I think that that myth carries, it just carries momentum, right? This idea that like, you want custody. It's a messy divorce.

People just aren't kind of getting along, say, abuse, and you're golden. Right. Like that myth unfortunately Right. Can be very harmful. And it, it just, it picks up momentum and

<00:55:29> Kayla Levin: let's just make sure that I'm, I wanna make sure it's all not clear, crystal clear because it invalidates the person coming out and actually saying this is abuse.

Right. That myth can then be like used as a, as a defense to sort of confuse everybody Yeah. About what's actually happening. Yeah.

<00:55:44> Rebecca Saleman: Yep. And so then, right. So then abusers are saying like, I'm not abusive. My hope soon to be ex just wants custody. Right. So, so I kind of, it tries to kind of reframe the situation.

And I think that can happen also with this idea of like, oh, well <00:56:00> everyone's calling everything abuse these days. I'm not an abuser, I'm just a victim. Right. You often will see abusers say like, I'm just a victim in this kind of labeling of abuse. Right. And I think that the ability for abusers to, to use that right.

I think is a big risk. And I, I just, you know, I think while people might be talking about abuse more and I definitely hear plenty of people joking about it, right? Like, somebody be like, oh yeah, he abuses me all the time. Right? But in a, in jest, which is, I personally don't find funny. I personally don't find funny.

And I think I have some friends who have made very clear, like, I'll be like, I'm leaving this conversation until you're done with that line of humor that, you know, you are finding funny. But but I think that I haven't, I haven't really seen as much of what you're describing of kind of like behaviors being labeled as abusive.

Just kind of willy-nilly the best phrase that comes to mind, you know? But like, I think that you know it, but ultimately, right. Just providing this clarity, <00:57:00> this education on what is abuse will serve either of those, right. Those avenues, right? Yeah. Yeah,

<00:57:07> Kayla Levin: yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think what you said earlier really helps sort of highlight.

What, what's going on on my screen, which is that you can't just take one snapshot of a relationship and No. Yep. Because it's a pattern. You need the whole picture. And I think someone's not necessarily wrong in saying the thing you're describing sounds like abuse because it would, if it's part of a pattern, which it might be.

Yeah. But it also, coming from where I am where I work with much more normative relationships, I'm like, no, that sounds like what my client just described to me last night because her husband got laid off and is like fried or, you know, like, yeah. And, and I know these, this couple, and I've worked with them and I know that they're fine and this is not, you know, so, yeah.

So I think that yeah, again, like going back to coming back to this paradigm over and over is exactly like, again, this isn't a co, this isn't, I don't wanna say it's not complicated, but I wanna say it's not mysterious. It's not mm-hmm. , you know, <00:58:00> something that like, we can't access, there is a working definition.

Mm-hmm. , you know, and there are things that we can look for so that we can get people to help. Yeah.

<00:58:07> Rebecca Saleman: I think yeah, your exact right. Highlighting that idea of like any behavior, right? Cannot be ultimately used to determine abuse. And I think like the conversation about is that an abusive behavior is kind of then not really, you can't really answer that, right?

That's not really something that can be answered, but is something, an abusive tactic, right? That speaks to that behavior being used as part of that pattern. And so I think, you know, if somebody comes to you with an isolated thing or even a handful of things, right? But you don't have that picture of that, of that, the root couple's relationship that whether there's fear, right?

And the fear, right? We talked about, I think you mentioned a little bit earlier, right? Like fights can be scary, but there's a difference between just a fight being scary and that kind of inherent undertone of fear in the relationship that is being cultivated, right? In this kind of ongoing cyclical manner.<00:59:00>

Yep, yep, yep.

<00:59:01> Kayla Levin: Okay. What does Shell taskforce need for those people who are listening to this now? They have more education. Hopefully they can be advocates for people in their lives. Mm-hmm. , God forbid they're in this situation where they need to, but what, what, what, you know, let's say that they're hearing this and they're like, oh my gosh, this is amazing work.

I wanna help, I wanna be involved. I just wanna give you a chance to kind of make a pitch, whatever would be.

<00:59:21> Rebecca Saleman: Absolutely. So I think, right. We kind of talked a little bit about, you know, our education department. Our education department reaches thousands and thousands of people each year. But we wanna reach more.

We want, we wanna be able to really spread this message as far and wide as possible. And sometimes that's a one-time thing with like a very kind of basic overview. And sometimes in certain settings that might. , but kind of a re a, a repetitive, right? Like a longer process. And so I think the first thing is like, if you're hearing this and you wanna hear more, or if you're hearing this and there's a space where you think it would be helpful, maybe you're a college teacher who has a group, right?

And you bring us in. Maybe you are, you know, you're a college, <01:00:00> right? Like a, a yeshiva something, right? And you have a group of people, maybe you are a rabbi and you wanna bring us to your show. Maybe you are, you know, any, any community space, right? Maybe you're just another organization that has people who could stand to learn about this.

Whatever that is. I think just reach out, set, you know, you can set up something for us to provide that education. Because I think the more people that understand this, the more people that have this message, the more we can do as a community to help the people in need. And the better we can help those people in need.

Right? Because if you understand abuse better than you understand, right? Like we talked about, like don't just tell somebody to run, right? That is not going to be helpful. And so I think just, and then anybody hearing this, like make this shop table conversation. Bring this up with your family, bring this up with your coworkers in the, you know, in the break room, whatever that is.

Like, just please help us provide this education. Be ambassadors for us. <01:01:00> I think that would really be, you know, a very, very important thing. Because also, like I said earlier, you know, we know that we would love that one day we don't get any calls. But right now, if we are not getting calls, that means people don't know.

Not that it's not happening. And so I think the more people that know, and the more people that understand both what abuse is, that there are P places, right? Like Shaham Task force to provide that support, the better they can be helped. And so I think just like. That is, I think the most important thing is the kind of knowledge is power, right?

And so if people have the knowledge of, of this information, they can make safer choices. And also, right. We'd love for people to come to us earlier in the game, right? Where they're like, we have people who call and we talk about, right? This idea of an oh feeling and like, you know, just getting a sense before you're right.

Deep into the relationship. So that's kind I was,

<01:01:53> Kayla Levin: I was gonna ask about dating, cause I know I do have a lot of people listening who aren't yet married who are in the dating process, so that's great to know that they can also pull up, they're not so <01:02:00> sure.

<01:02:01> Rebecca Saleman: Yep. And just even somebody who's like, I am a complete novice at dating and I have no idea what I'm dealing with.

Right. Getting some kind of just. Education right on. Like that idea of an uhoh feeling. What is it? What might it be? Like, what would be a red flag? Right? Some of those conversations. And then our education workshops do that too, right? We, we go into high schools, but we also can go into lots of other spaces with those dating workshops as well.

So I would definitely say that's number one. And then obviously the world runs on money. Definitely donations are very helpful for us to be able to maintain the work that we do. So definitely there is no harm ever in supporting the agency with a financial donation.

<01:02:44> Kayla Levin: Thank you so much for coming on.

Obvious super open and very, very important conversation. Yeah. And thank you for taking the time.

<01:02:51> Rebecca Saleman: Thank you for having me. I think, you know, I, as much as we talk about sometimes among, among the staff, right? domestic <01:03:00> violence is a really gruesome topic to talk about. Mm-hmm. , but also, right. I think it's okay for us to feel passionate and excited about the work that we do.

And so I, I just really wanna thank you for giving me a platform to share that. And I guess I'll just really, I wanna end on just one really, I guess like, often nice to end on a, on a glimmer of hope when we talk about, you know, something so, so deep. And I think, you know, what we, we are seeing as we go into more schools, you know, and if you're listening and you either are part of a school or you are a parent with a kid in a school, like, we love going into schools because it's our chance to make a change much earlier.

Right. To provide that education to people when they're younger, right. That they may not have had. But you know, I think there's definitely, you are able to see that as the next generation of people who maybe have had some of that education are getting into their next phase of their life. You see, the questions are a little bit different and sometimes it is.

more of that. Like, I'm just not sure what's going on here. I have that oh. Feeling. I don't know even, <01:04:00> like, is this okay? Is this not? And I think like, just really recognizing that like today's young people are getting it. And I think that, you know, we, we, again, we wanna get to zero calls. I don't think we're there anytime soon.

But the more, the more that people understand domestic violence, the closer we are to that, to that point.

<01:04:22> Kayla Levin: All right. All right. It zero calls we're all gonna go for, in the meantime, we're gonna spread the word. Yep. Thank you again.

<01:04:28> Rebecca Saleman: Absolutely. Thank you

<01:04:32> Kayla Levin:

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