Kristin chats with Sabrina of Osso Safe about preventing violence in a relationship and how OSSO safe can protect families.  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!

Kristin:  Hello!  This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas.  My guest today is Sabrina Ossa, and Sabrina is the founder and CEO of Osso Safe.  Welcome, Sabrina!

Sabrina:  Hello, Kristin.  Thank you so much.  We’re so happy to be with you.

Kristin:  It’s great to have you here!  So you have quite the resume.  You’re a TEDx speaker, a real estate agent, a consultant on promoting safety and preventing violence in the workplace, in schools, and also in personal residences, correct?

Sabrina:  Correct, yes, yes.  We focus on those three markets, if you will.

Kristin:  And you’re also a dancer by trade?  I love it.

Sabrina:  Yes, yes.  Thank you.

Kristin:  So, Sabrina, how did you get into this line of work focusing on safety in so many different aspects of life?

Sabrina:  Yes.  I’ve had enough therapy – I’ve been in and out of therapy for quite some time now to be comfortable enough to say that I did grow up with violence.  My father beat my mother on a regular basis, and my mother would be abusive towards me.  So I have firsthand experience with just witnessing it and also having it done to me.  So it kind of really gives you a lot of – how do I say?  Experience in things that you really don’t want to have experience in, but if you use it, you use it to help other people.  And Osso Safe really started out as a one-woman show.  You mentioned I am a dancer.  I was auditioning.  I was performing.  And I started writing my one-woman show as a dancer, and I play different women being abused.  She goes to her good place.  That’s where the dancing comes in.  But then she’s pulled back into the terror of violence.  But the show ends really strong, really empowering.  And I did a lot of research for the show because I wanted it to be educational and entertaining, and I could not believe the statistics that I was finding, how it’s so common.  And I said to myself, I need to make this into a bona fide business with products and services that can really help people, including myself, really.  And that’s how Osso Safe was born.  We’re not a nonprofit.  We’re not a charity.  We respect all of the charities and nonprofits that do this work, but we have a very different approach to it, and we can talk about that later on in the interview, but hopefully I answered the question, how did Osso Safe come about.

Kristin:  Yes, you answered it beautifully.  And so your product is a blend of technology and also holistic care, and it seems very unique.

Sabrina:  Yes, yes.  We combine education and technology to promote safety and prevent violence, and a lot of it has to do with real estate, your home, your residence.  That’s where we focus on because we say if your homes are safe, then your workplaces will be safe; schools will be safe; universities; our public places; our concerts; our malls.  It all starts in the home, and I love your podcast because it focuses on children, and children are always victims.  I was one of them, and they’re the most vulnerable.  And so we really focus on them.  They are the true victims in this whole horrible equation, but we’re very hopeful.  We’re very positive.  And the technology, it holds people accountable, and we make this a part of residency.

Kristin:  So getting into relationships, of course, at Ask the Doulas, we are – you know, our listeners and our doula clients are either pregnant or in the first year of their child’s life.  So getting into your focus on relationships and home life, what are some examples of being in a good strong relationship, and there are so many changes that happen after baby is home that may cause some stressors.

Sabrina:  Yes, yes.  We strongly feel that – now, it takes two people to make a baby, right?  So we focus on, look, both of you have to work together, and whether they’re divorced, whether they are – and even as a single parent, and I’m sure a lot of parents or every parent, I would say, is wearing a lot of hats, right?  So it is very important to have on the forefront of your mind a few things.  One is that you have to know, you deserve to be in a good relationship.  You need to make it a point to get along with your significant other, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your – if that person is your ex.  And we realize things don’t work out.  Maybe you’re already split up, but you’re pregnant and you’re sharing this child with this person.  It happens, right?  You have to keep on the forefront of your mind that I am not going to endanger my child in any way.  When we – not if; when we disagree, myself and my significant other, I’m going to make it a point that I’m not going to fight.  I’m not going to be yelling and screaming and being verbally, physically, or sexually abusive to my partner or to my significant other or to my ex; not in front of my children, not in front of my infant, because – and I’ve done research on this.  Infants, the formative years are between 0 and 6 years old.  They know; they recognize when there is turmoil, when there is upset, when there is conflict.  Even though they don’t know exactly what is going on, but they know that something is amiss, so it’s very traumatic to a child when they hear mom and dad fight.  And we’re not saying don’t ever fight.  You’re not going to disagree.  That’s not realistic.  Of course you’re going to disagree.  But there’s a way to fight.  There’s a way to disagree.  And you have to make it a promise before this child enters the world that you’re not going to be verbally, physically, or sexually abusive.  Make that as a rule right from the beginning, and we’ll say, look, when we do disagree, we’re going to make it a point that we don’t cross that line.  And if we have to distance ourselves, then we will distance ourselves and remove ourselves from the situation.  Say, look, let’s come back to it.  Let’s discuss this after taking a breather for a half hour, an hour, a day, a whole day, whatever it takes.  But I would say to parents, you need to be very proactive and making it a point to really make the effort to not fight in front of those children.  I would see my parents fight all the time, and I can tell you from personal experience, it’s very traumatic.  And I got to say, abusive parents, they love an audience.  They love an audience, especially when it’s their own children, because they feel like they have people already on their side.  But you’re hurting your children.  You’re being abusive toward your children by doing that.  So I would say include therapy as part of your regular parenting.  There’s no shame in getting help.  There’s shame in not getting help.  And we make this a point of residency.  I can talk about this later on in the interview, but we make therapy – it’s like a standard.  We don’t wait for an episode of violence to occur in our properties.  We have therapists assigned to the property, and every month, you’re required to check in with your therapist.  Is everything okay?  Do you feel like anything is looming?  So all of this is on the preventative side versus waiting for an episode of violence or conflict to occur.  I mean, I could go on and on with tips, but I would say just those would really make a difference in a child’s life.  The not fighting; you’re not going to be abusive towards one another; respect is the number one requirement in any relationship.  You respect me; I respect you.  That’s very important.

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Kristin:  That’s so true.  I was absolutely agreeing with you.  And I find it interesting – I mean, as a real estate agent, you are putting yourself in uncomfortable situations with strangers as you’re showing homes.  How does that translate to the industry of real estate as I’m thinking about our doulas not necessarily having a relationship with families and coming into a home in safety for professionals in certain settings?

Sabrina:  Yes, excellent point.  They’re in higher positions, if you will, in the real estate industry.  For example, we’re based in New Jersey, so the New Jersey Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors.  We put ourselves – it’s “the nature of the business,” where you’re showing a property and it’s very – it is dangerous.  You’re dealing with strangers, and yes, some of them have good faith.  They operate out of good faith.  But others, there are cases, or I should say conclusions, where the real estate agent gets murdered or gets kidnapped, and this is a big problem for us in the real estate industry.  And they need to do more to protect because you could say – they say to us, “Make sure that your client goes first, and make sure you’re there with someone else, and make sure you have your cell phone on hand.”  But all of those things are really – when someone’s out to harm you and you’re there, even with your partner, with someone else, another agent, if that person wants to harm you, they will, and especially if it’s an abandoned property or the property is – you’re alone, whether in the day or at nighttime.  You could do all that you can to have someone with you, but sometimes it’s just not possible, and you’re showing properties.  So this is where my technology, the technology that I have – I have hired a software company.  It will have multiple applications.  This will help real estate agents because it gets installed, and it will detect violent-like movements and captures them in real time, issuing alerts to, let’s say, a landlord or to your broker of record or to the mom and dad who hired a nanny to watch their child.

Kristin:  That was my next question, yes, what to do about caregivers when you’re not in the home and wanting safety for your child.

Sabrina:  Right.  It’s called the Osso Safe app, and right now it’s being updated, but it will have multiple applications, and this will help getting police to the residence if you can’t get there.   Look, I just saw someone break in, and it’s detecting violence.  I just saw someone get slapped.  I just saw my child get smacked across the face by the nanny.  I just saw one of my real estate agents.  There’s an alert, and this person, they’re not – this potential buyer, he’s really – he’s not operating out of good faith.  So you get the alert right away so that way you can send help.  And we’re also setting it up where help, like 911, is called right away because it’s detecting violence.  It’s detecting, like I said, a slap, a punch, a kick.  And this also we wanted to carry over in residency with your spouse, with your significant other, with your boyfriend, your girlfriend.  And we’re saying, look, we need to make safety a required standard condition of residency.  When you sign that lease, when you sign that mortgage, when you sign that title, well, now, you’re not going to get away with half the things that you got away with before because now safety is a required standard condition of residency.  And this protects children because children, there are 15 million children that witness violence in their own homes each and every year in the US alone, and those are just the ones that are documented.  So there are a lot of good parents out there, Kristin, but let’s face it, there are a number of not good parents, abusive, violent, chaotic, dysfunction.  So we’re saying, look, abusive parents, you’re not going to get away with this anymore.  Children have rights in Osso Safe certified properties, and we will hold you accountable.  And these children, we don’t wait until they’re 18 for them to have agency over their lives.  As soon as they are pre-K, kindergarten, they get to say.  They have a say who they feel safe with, and we have developed something called Osso Safe kids.  Anyone can Google it.  It’s like a channel right now that I have on YouTube, but we give advice to children, abused children or non-abused children, and we’re unifying them and saying, look, help each other out.  Abused kids, and we talk about it very openly.  It’s not your fault.  You’re not alone.  The fact that if dad is beating you up or mom is putting you down, this is not Osso Safe.  This is now how it’s supposed to be, and you can speak out.  So, I mean, there’s a lot more to it, but just to give a summation of everything between the technology and Osso Safe kids and as real estate agents applying the technology to real estate agents.  So just to give a brief summation of everything.

Kristin:  Yeah.  So it sounds like this could even eventually be used in daycare centers and a lot of different models.

Sabrina:  Yes.  Yes, it will have multiple applications, as I mentioned.  Even pet-sitters.  You know, pet-sitters, elderly people, or children, nannies as we said.  Definitely in residency as a regular part of residency.  So the technology complements the education, and the education complements the technology, if you will.

Kristin:  So it’s beyond your typical nanny cam or baby monitor where you need to go back through all of the recordings.  You would actually, you know, have notifications based on movement, like you said?  So it’s very sophisticated.

Sabrina:  Right, violent movement, correct.  Exactly.

Kristin:  So how can our listeners, you know, find you?  I know you’ve got a great TEDx talk.  If they’re needing more resources, what are your preferred methods of contact?

Sabrina:  Yes.  You can call the lawyers, right, the 1-800 numbers.  I believe it’s – well, it depends on your state, right?  So they all have their respective 1-800 numbers.  The National Domestic Violence hotline.  And then you call the police, and you could either get a restraining order or not, and you go to court and you could hire the lawyers and you could hire the mediators and the paracoordinators and get child protective service agencies and the judges.  But I have to say, Kristin, as someone with personal and professional experience in this realm with the legal part of it, it is horrendous out there, I have to say, and I’m speaking from personal and professional experience.  All of it together, they have this let them eat cake approach, if you will, because at the end of the day, they don’t care.  I hate to sound like that, but children’s lives are not valued.  They are not seen as you’re going through this, and we are so sorry about this.  They have this, well, you too have to get along, like the abusive parents.  It’s like a slap on the wrist.  You two have to get along.  You’ll be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you’ll be worse off than when you set foot in that courtroom.  It would have been better off if you never even set foot in the courtroom, I have to say.  And these judges, I also have to state, they are very ill-informed.  They are uninformed, and they care more about their caseloads than actually – they do what is in the worst interest of the abused child versus what is in the best interest of the abused child.  So at Osso Safe, we’re saying, look – and we consult with a small team of lawyers on a regular basis on everything that we do, and one of them is a family law attorney, and she said, “Sabrina, with your Osso Safe certifications of properties, and you want this to carry over, over all residency, you are short-circuiting the entire process.  You don’t even need the courts because you make safety a required standard condition of residency.  You nip it right in the bud right in residency.  You won’t need the courts.  You won’t need lawyers.  You won’t need –

Kristin:  Evidence and text messages and – yeah.

Sabrina:  Right, because everything is done right in residency between the technology and the education because it’s more preventative versus waiting for an episode of violence to occur and the police show up, and at that point, it’s almost too late.  The children are terrified.  They are traumatized.  We do all of this education right at the beginning of residency.  Even if you’re in your residence for like a year or six months, we do all the education as a standard, if you will.  So we want to say that, yes, you could use all the resources out there, but as we get more momentum and we’re doing a lot of these podcasts to get the word out, hire us.  Get your properties Osso Safe certified, whether you rent, whether you own, whether you have a mortgage or not.  Get your schools Osso Safe certified.  Get your workplaces Osso Safe certified.  You won’t need the courts.  In fact, I actually said this to a – and this was at the New Jersey Apartment Association.  I said, the laws will have to catch up to what Osso Safe is doing in terms of residency, in terms of really making homes and residences safe, especially for children, because we are combining education and technology.  And I also want to mention to couples raising their children: please, stay away from giving any pornographic material to your sons, and daughters for that matter.  Pornography is a big driver of violence.  We say pornography is 88.2% physical aggression towards women.  So do yourselves a favor.  And it’s not about sexual freedom.  We’re all for sexual freedom at Osso Safe.  Pornography is the opposite of freedom.  It’s all about bondage, domination, sadism, masochism.  And we’re not teaching our children to have good sexual relationships – good relationships, period.  So stay away from pornography, and it just feeds into child rape, sex trafficking, child sex trafficking.  So I wanted to say that on your podcast, especially for children, because so many of them fall victim in these trafficking rings, if you will, and it happens in every part of society, whether you have money, whether you don’t have a lot of money, regardless of religion, regardless of nationality, background.  It is a – I believe it’s a $100 billion industry, sex trafficking.  And a lot of it is fed, if not all of it is fed, through pornography.  Yeah, so I hope I gave pertinent tips, and as far as finding me or finding us, the website is  You can Google Osso Safe kids.  I have my TEDx talk out there.   All of the major social media platforms; we’ll on all of them.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram.  So I hope I answered a lot of your questions, Kristin.

Kristin:  You sure did, Sabrina.  What a wealth of information.  It’s overwhelming to hear some of these stats.  So thank you for sharing.  Any final tips, even on, as you mentioned, trafficking?  Like traveling with children, any safety tips?

Sabrina:  Yes.  Definitely keep your eye on your children when you are out there.  At schools – I hate to say this, but schools are breeding grounds for school shootings and sex trafficking.  Have a code with your child where – like, let’s say someone poses as someone who’s going to go pick them up, and have your child say, “Well, what’s the code?  What is the code word or the code number?”  And you will throw that potential sex trafficker right off.  Like, oh – like, something like “barracuda” or something very unique, you know?  And that person will run.  And have that child – say to that child, “Look, nothing you can do will make me get upset with you.  I mean, we do” – oh, something that should be differentiated: discipline instills education, and abuse instills fear.  And we make it a point in our properties and in our education to differentiate that and to teach parents about that, what the difference is.  So I’m sorry; I’m jumping from one thing to the other.  But I want to say, abusive parents, what you do is very different than what Osso Safe parents do.  Parents that practice safety, empowerment, encouragement, respect, positivity.  And this is what you need to learn, abusive parents.  And just because you are a parent, it doesn’t give you the right to abuse your child.  We want to say that, to leave your audience with that.

Kristin:  Thank you so much.  I appreciate all of the work that you’re doing.

Sabrina:  Thank you, Kristin.

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