By Stephanie Quinn, See the Triumph Guest Blogger
Note from See the Triumph: As part of our series this month on Intimate Partner Violence, Stigma, and the Media, this week we’re featuring a series of reviews of books and films that address the topic of domestic violence. In this series, guest blogger Stephanie Quinn shares insights about how these resources depict the issue, as well as resources for learning more.
Crazy Love is a memoir by Leslie Morgan Steiner. Steiner experienced domestic violence in her first marriage, and was finally able to escape after two years. Reading or hearing about the real life experiences of a survivor can give readers a small piece of what it would have been like to face this kind of abuse. Steiner tells her story with dignity and honesty.
She also speaks from a unique point of view. While domestic violence can occur at any level of socioeconomic status, most people forget that women who are economically stable and well educated can also experience abuse. Steiner was a Harvard graduate before meeting her ex-husband and graduated from the prestigious Wharton School of Business while still in her abusive marriage. Not only was she well educated, but she also considered herself a progressive woman. When marrying her abuser, she asked the minister to take the word “obey” out of her wedding vows. Furthermore, when she became concerned about her situation, she researched academic journals and contacted university professors under the guise of writing an article about domestic violence. This is not the typical behavior that most people would consider when talking about abuse victims. Through Steiner’s story, we are reminded that abuse can happen to anyone.
Despite her circumstances, Steiner continued to love her husband throughout their marriage. Like many batterers, he had a difficult childhood that included physical abuse and Steiner felt she needed to be there to love him in a way that his family could not. Steiner bravely stated that she wanted to “save” her batterer and help him become a better person. When Steiner spoke with a university professor who specialized in domestic violence, he told her, “Leaving is actually the best way for her to help the batterer, and our society, because she is letting him, and the world know that what he has done is wrong and totally unacceptable. By removing herself from the relationship, she makes it clear that she cannot help him, paving the way for him to realize that the violence is his responsibility, his fault, and that he is the only one accountable for his behavior”( Steiner, 242). While this was difficult for Steiner to hear, it sparked something inside of her. She did not leave her husband immediately after this conversation, but she did begin to consider more carefully what was actually best for her husband, and eventually she realized that staying was hurting them both.
Steiner spoke during a TED conference in 2012. Her talk was titled “Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave.” If you would like to learn more about her, watch her TED talk or read her book, Crazy Love: https://www.ted.com/talks/leslie_morgan_steiner_why_domestic_violence_victims_don_t_leave
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Love-Leslie-Morgan-Steiner/dp/0312377460/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405629069&sr=1-4&keywords=crazy+love
Stephanie Quinn is a second year masters student in Counseling and Educational Development at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Originally from Iowa, she moved to North Carolina to attend Elon University where she received her bachelor's degree in Human Service Studies. Specializing in couples and families, she is currently interning at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center this fall, where she works with families in the children's oncology and hematology unit.