‘Believe Her’ host Justine van der Leun discusses what happens when a woman kills her abusive partner

January 26, 2022

In this week’s Podsauce episode, Justine van der Leun discussed reporting on criminalized survivors’ cases such as Nikki Addimando’s story in the series “Believe Her.” In this interview, Justine shared the U.S. justice system’s flaws that turn cases like Nikki’s upside-down and recommended some of her favorite podcasts. We also heard Dax and Alesha’s podcast picks of the week, including a true crime series and more.

Dax shared “In God We Lust” as this week’s Done in a Day pick, a six-part series based on Evangelical church leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s ménage-à-trois that allegedly started during a trip to Miami with his wife, Becky. Tabloids claimed they hooked up with a pool boy over several weeks and became embroiled in a scandal. Jerry’s father was a prominent church leader in America, and Falwell Jr. became president of his father’s evangelical university. The scandal resulted in an investigation and revealed corruption at the university. This series moves super fast and can be binged in just a few hours.

Alesha shared “Girls That Invest” as her podcast pick of the week. She’s currently taking a greater look at her financial portfolio and finds this series hosted by millennial investors to be helpful. Start the 40+ episodes in any order, with episodes running 20 minutes long on average.

Next, “Believe Her” host Justine van der Leun joined Podsauce via video chat from New York. The six-part series is about a young mom, Nikki Addimando, who killed her partner in 2017. She claimed self-defense, had documentation of suffering abuse for years, was tried for murder, and was sent to prison with a potential life sentence away from her two kids. “Believe Her” explores skewed perceptions and the criminal justice system where a victim is criminalized as a perpetrator and what happens next.

Start the series from the first episode to hear the complete true crime saga unfold. “Believe Her” has wrapped, but Nikki’s story is still unfolding in real time. In addition to the podcast, Justine investigates other criminalized survivors’ cases and shared why it is so important to bring awareness to stories like Nikki’s.

Justine shared her podcast picks including “Heavyweight,” and her all-time favorite series, “S-Town.” She also listens to “This American Life.” Although she enjoys the series as a whole, Justine shared two of her favorite episodes: “Episode 699 – Fiasco,” about things going haywire and “Episode 706 – A Mess to be Reckoned With” following Lissa Yellow Bird’s searches for murdered or missing indigenous women, starting with investigating her missing niece.

Lastly, we heard all about this week’s Murder Most Foul true crime pick, “Female Criminals.” Alesha listened to several episodes including “The Cannibal Cook,” a person who prepared and served human-based foods. In the two-part “The Savage Mistress” episode, Alesha learned about Delphine LaLaurie’s stories behind the legends. Delphine’s character was adapted in season 3 of American Horror Story: Coven and was played by actress Angela Bassett.

Justine van der Leun’s Picks

Believe Her

Listen to ‘Believe Her’


Listen to ‘Heavyweight’


S-Town podcast art
Listen to ‘S-Town’

This American Life

This American Life image
Listen to ‘This American Life’

Done In A Day

In God We Lust

Listen to ‘In God We Lust’

Alesha’s Pick

Girls That Invest

Listen to ‘Girls That Invest’

Murder Most Foul

Female Criminals

Listen to ‘Female Criminals’

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