Podcasts are the modern anywhere, anytime talk-radio. From education to entertainment, a few minutes to a few hours in length, there are currently over half a million active podcasts available to listen to on iTunes alone. Anyone with a microphone and a little bit of web savvy can create and release their own podcast. Of course, this means some are inexpert or inaccurate, but it also allows many unique and disparate voices to be heard, including domestic violence advocates and brave survivors. With the audio medium and intimate feel, podcasts tend to personalize the difficult topic of abuse. Hear the voices of survivors directly and the emotions of those who take the time to tell their tales and impart their knowledge. Podcasts are a great way to learn on the go by listening while driving, cleaning, exercising, etc. The following are some top-ranked and recommended podcasts on domestic violence. Some educate listeners on various aspects of abuse, others are true crime narratives of particularly horrific or thought-provoking cases, and some give voices to survivors themselves to tell their own stories. While informative and inspiring, keep in mind that these podcasts may be triggering, especially for listeners who are victims or survivors.
These podcasts are dedicated to survivor stories in their own words. Some are created by survivors, who share their own experiences, and some are discussions between survivors and/or advocates.
I’m a Survivor
Misty Chaviers is a domestic violence survivor and advocate. In her Purple Ribbon Award winning podcast, she discusses various aspects of her personal experience with abuse and her ongoing struggles that resulted from it. As she told Domestic Shelters, “I felt so silenced because, in Alabama, you don’t talk about abuse. I felt like I could maybe through my voice help women become free.” Misty also interviews other survivors and advocates to hear their stories and perspectives. Plus, she explains particular aspects of domestic violence, such as gaslighting and trauma bonding. Most episodes are 20 to 30 minutes long. Misty is still publishing new episodes at the time of this posting.
Shatterproof: Thriving After Domestic Violence
Survivor and self-professed “change-agent” Mickie Zada was in an abusive relationship for 34 years. She shares her story in this podcast, with episodes breaking down aspects of abuse, things her abuser or family members said that stuck with her, and some of Mickie’s specific thoughts and feelings related to her abuse. She also speaks with many other survivors and hears their stories and perspectives. The focus is on how each survivor reinvented themselves after abuse. Though it is not currently publishing new content, there are over 150 archived episodes available. Episode length varies quite a bit depending on the content, but most fall between 10 and 45 minutes.
Let’s Talk About It / Finding Our Voices
Host Patricia McLean, an award-winning photojournalist, interviews a different survivor or survivors in every episode of this podcast. Along with the survivor(s), some episodes also feature a family member or friend who supported them through their experiences, exploring relationships with loved ones during and after abuse. Patricia delves into her personal experience as well, discussing with her daughter the primarily mental abuse her singer ex-husband Don McLean inflicted upon them. Other survivors’ stories explore protection orders and police involvement, religion, financial abuse, child abuse, and more. This podcast changed its name and so has two feeds, which overlap somewhat. Finding Our Voices comprises a short 9 episodes, while Let’s Talk About It has over 30 and is still being updated with new content occasionally. Episodes in both feeds are approximately an hour long.
When Does it End…
The anonymous survivor who created this podcast reveals her experience with abuse and what happened to her after leaving her abuser. Like many survivors, she continues to be linked to her abuser by the three children they share. Through 16 episodes of around 20-minutes each, she explains her relationship, the continued abuse, her mental health struggles, and her negative experience with the court system, which led to a “decision I never thought I would make”, of leaving her children with her abuser.
She Is Your Neighbour
Produced by Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region in Ontario, Canada, each episode shares the story of a survivor with a unique focus. From childhood abuse, abuse and the drug trade, and experiences with the legal system and shelters to violence as a refugee of the Rwandan genocide or as a child bride. Some distinctive tales are shared. There are also episodes dedicated to the experience of abuse through the lens of different races and cultures, including black women, South Asian communities, and indigenous women. Most episodes feature host Jenna Mayne in discussion with a survivor, though a few guests tell stories of survivors they are/were close to or discuss their experience working with survivors. There are 27 episodes available of 30 to 40 minutes each.
After Dark: Stories of Hope
Australian host Isaac Marano interviews different survivors from around the world in each episode of this podcast, with a couple of episodes where the guest is an author or nonprofit worker in the field of abuse. Most stories are of women who suffered intimate partner violence, with occasional stories of other forms of abusive relationships. With 50 episodes ranging from 30 minutes to an hour each, there are many stories to explore.
Host Brandon Chadwick facilitates raw and personal discussions between survivors. Listeners can hear survivors’ stories directly from those who experienced them, as well as their views on a wide range of abuse tactics and broader abuse-related topics. Described as “Part true crime. Part education. Part self-improvement. Part support group.”, this podcast includes education and true crime aspects, but is primarily focused on survivor voices. The many first-hand narratives personalize the issues discussed. With nearly 300 episodes of 45 minutes to 1.5 hours each, there is a wealth of content to delve into with this podcast.
In these podcasts, journalists or researchers investigate particularly devious or deadly incidents involving domestic violence. Some involve interviews with victims and/or involved parties. Most slowly dissect one story over a season, while some tell a complete story with every episode, but all have some sort of conclusion to each narrative.
This is a limited-run podcast created by Wondery and the Los Angeles Times. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-nominated Times reporter Christopher Goffard, it tells the story of Debra Newell and her relationship with her husband, John Meehan. Goffard includes interviews with Newell, members of her family, and other involved parties to weave together the tale of abuse, manipulation, and murder. It plays out over six episodes around 40 minutes each. Dirty John was adapted into a 2018 TV mini-series and the podcast returned for three shorter bonus episodes discussing it. In 2019, a docu-series was also created with Newell, Goffard, and others appearing.
Hosted by award-winning journalist, domestic violence advocate, and editorial director of DomesticShelters.org, Amanda Kippert, and her best friend and self-professed “comic relief”, Jenna Brandl, this podcast shares true crime stories with a focus on toxic masculinity. Each episode tells a true story of abuse, with the occasional discussion of a particular topic or interview with a survivor in the mix. Amanda and Jenna do not shy away from discussing well-known celebrities and public figures who have been accused of abuse, harassment, or toxicity, and controversial topics such as abortion and police reform. With typical episodes running 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, there are over 60 to listen to with new episodes continuing to be added at the time of posting.
Targeted: True Crime Podcast
Host Mo Blackwell tells four contained true crime stories over four seasons of 10-20 episodes each. The first season focuses on the 1976 murder of 4-year-old Melisha Gibson by her abusive step-father and how it led to changes in the US social services. Season two follows the story of Tracey Thurman, who sued the police department in 1980 for failing to protect her from her abusive husband Buck. This story led to many changes in law enforcement policy regarding domestic violence and inspired a TV movie, which is on DVSN’s list of what to read and watch about DV. Season three delves into the story of 15-year-old Josh Osborn who was chained to his bed and starved by his parents. Josh was rescued, but that was just the beginning. Season four discusses the 2009 disappearance of Marsha Brantley, which wasn’t discovered for 6 months. The only person who knew she was missing was her husband Donnie, who did not report it. The Targeted website includes more information and the resources used to inform each season. Note – not all episodes of seasons three and four are on the podcast website, but they can all be found in the Player.fm feed.
Something Was Wrong
This Iris Award winning podcast uses true crime stories to elucidate and educate listeners on the discovery of, resulting trauma, and recovery from abusive relationships and shocking life events. Hosted by abuse survivor, advocate, and author Tiffany Reese, it is separated into 13 seasons of around ten episodes each. Most seasons tell one story over the course of all episodes, with discussion of related topics, though a few include multiple stories. Some are tales of abusive partners, while others involve abuse in church, at work, and online. Most episodes run 45 minutes to an hour each and Tiffany is still producing new episodes at the time of posting.
Billed as “true crime, upside down”, this podcast explores the story of Nikki Addimando, who killed her partner Chris Grover in 2017. Nikki claimed Chris was physically and sexually abusive and that his death was completely self-defense, but she was sentenced to 19-years-to-life in prison for murder. Journalist Justine van der Leun investigated this case and shares her findings, including interviews with Nikki and rare police audio. Through six 45-minute-to-hour-long episodes, she lays out the killing, evidence, and aftermath, explores perception versus reality, and questions criminalizing survival. There are also several bonus episodes featuring interviews with some involved parties and other criminalized survivors.
In these podcasts, experts explain different types of abuse, abuse tactics, and terms. They are generally informative about domestic violence. Some include examples of specific victim experiences to illustrate concepts, and some also discuss cultural impacts and societal implications.
Partnered With a Survivor
From the Safe & Together Institute, personal and professional partners Ruth Raymundo Mendel and David Mendel discuss a multitude of domestic violence related topics between themselves and by interviewing various guests. As well as discussing key concepts such as coercive control and victim blaming, they often delve into more divisive subjects such as gender roles, culture and religion, police and system reform, and the impact on children. Currently in their third season, episodes run approximately an hour each.
PAVE: Professionals Against Violence Podcast
Created by international speaker Alianne Looijenga, this podcast is aimed at professionals working in the domestic violence arena. In each episode, she speaks with one such professional about their experience, their work, and their suggestions for improving services for survivors, social services, and the family court system. Guests include women empowerment advocates, activists, coaches, survivors, and UN, nonprofit, and shelter workers. This podcast comprises a total of 16 episodes, ranging in length from 20 minutes to over an hour each.
One Conversation Podcast
In this Purple Ribbon Award winning podcast, hosts from LiveViolenceFree.org discuss a variety of domestic violence concepts, such as gaslighting, stalking, victim blaming, and types of abuse through the lens of empowerment. They also key in on various awareness months to explore topical subjects such as LGBTQIA+ abuse, teen dating violence, violence in the black community, human trafficking, and sexual assault. Some episodes feature interviews with professionals in the field they are discussing. Most episodes run 30 minutes to an hour. There are over 75 available to the time of posting, and this podcast is currently creating new content.
The Domestic Violence Discussion
Created by survivor Ariel, this is a podcast discussing basic domestic violence information and more in-depth abuse-related topics, incorporating some personal experiences of Ariel and other survivors. “I wanted to build a foundation… share the nuts and bolts,” she told Podcast Magazine, “I didn’t want to make my story the focus… [but] to bring in my own humanity, pain, trauma, healing, and empowerment, so listeners know there is a human behind every survivor story.” Topics range from defining physical, emotional, financial abuse, and other tactics of abuse to discussions of trauma, self-care, toxic masculinity, and grooming. She describes them as, “…the things I wish I had known, and the discussions I wish someone had with me.” Ariel is Asian American and bisexual and often chooses topics or includes perspectives based on her culture and identity. Episodes range widely in length, from just 1 minute to almost an hour, but most are around 30 minutes. At the time of posting, there are over 70 episodes available, and the show continues to put out occasional new episodes.
This podcast focuses on Technology-Enabled Coercive Control, or “TECC”. From the Sexual Violence Law Center, hosts Natalie Dolci and Kayleigh NcNeil interview experts to discuss ways technology can be used as a tool of abuse, harm, and gender-based violence. They also touch on how online platforms, survivor communities, and the legal system respond to TECC. Only seven 30-to-40-minute episodes are available, but they cover notable topics from the sharing of intimate images online and deepfakes, to LGBTQIA+ TECC and Roe vs. Wade.
The Rising Beyond Podcast
Licensed professional counselor Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS hosts this podcast focused on helping women heal from abusive relationships. She delves into domestic violence concepts it may help survivors to understand, as well as emotions they may be feeling such as trauma, shame, and guilt. Some episodes discuss the difficulties survivors face in putting their lives back together after leaving an abuser, including post-separation abuse. Sybil occasionally has a guest in a related profession to discuss a particular issue. Most episodes are 20 to 30 minutes each and new episodes are still being produced at the time of posting.
Somebody Must Say These Things
Created by the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia (THANS), this 8-part limited-series podcast examines the difficulties victims face when leaving an abusive relationship. Though the particular statistics and systems are those of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, the overarching concepts of issues such as the dangers of leaving, leaving with children, rural communities, indigenous survivors, and the importance of transitional housing are universal. Some topics include interviews with people working in that field or survivors who experienced that challenge. Each episode runs about 20 minutes.
Understanding Today’s Nacissist
Hosted by licensed psychotherapist Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC, this podcast examines aspects of abuse through the lens of narcissism. Hammond reviews key domestic violence concepts such as various types of abuse (physical, verbal, etc.), the Cycle of Abuse, and gaslighting, as well as less commonly discussed abuse tactics such as the silent treatment and parental alienation. Not limited to intimate partner relationships, Hammond also considers dealing with narcissistic family members, friends, and bosses. She often shares stories of her clients’ experiences and occasionally conducts interviews. Most episodes clock in around 15 minutes long, and while she is no longer posting new episodes, there are nearly 100 available.
Root for Each Other: A Branches Podcast
A collaborative project with Branches Domestic Violence Shelter, this podcast delves into issues survivors deal with and spotlights topical news and entertainment subjects that relate to domestic violence. There are discussions of common themes such as stalking, trauma, and safe housing, plus issues facing marginalized communities, such as people of color and those who identify as LGBTQIA+. Topical discussions include interviews with authors of books dealing with abuse and the controversial Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial. While mostly a general information podcast, there is also a 4-part true crime narrative, a listener Q&A session, and one episode dedicated to survivor stories. With episodes typically 30-60 minutes each, there are 40 currently available at time of posting, and this podcast continues to update with new material.
The wide variety and depth of information available in these podcasts related to domestic violence is remarkable. A broad range of styles, formats, and topics make them accessible to extensive and diverse audiences. With so many survivors willing to share their stories in such a personal way, their voices are being heard and helping to eliminate the stigma surrounding abuse. Want more DV content beyond podcasts? Check out some nonfiction book recommendations in DVSN’s October 2020 blog post, “Start by Believing: Building Awareness to End Abuse” and many book, movie, and TV narratives, fiction and non, on abuse and sexual assault, in DVSN’s March 2022 blog post, “Learning Through Storytelling: What to Read & Watch About Domestic Violence”.
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