As disturbing topic this is, sometimes we have to address the white elephant in the room in hopes to better inform and possibly help others about domestic violence. Author of “Crazy Love,” Leslie Morgan Steiner addresses the “secrets” of domestic violence and answers the one question that everyone is thinking about someone dealing with domestic violence is:
“Why does she stay? Why would anyone stay with a man who beats her?” Steiner states in her TEDTalk. Steiner has a story to tell and that’s of her own.
At the young age of 22, Steiner fell into the trap of what she claimed she thought was “true love.” She was educated and so was her abuser, but that follows a point Steiner mentions, “My first message for you is that domestic violence happens to everyone – all races, all religions, all income and education levels.” It also doesn’t pertain to one gender she continues, “My second message is that everyone thinks domestic violence happens to women, that it’s a women’s issue. Not exactly.”
In the beginning of their relationship Steiner was convinced she had met her one and only, “One of the smartest things Conor did, from the very beginning, was to create the illusion that I was the dominant partner in the relationship.” She was blinded and charmed but that stage quickly faded when it came to the week prior to their wedding when he made his first violent encounter, “Conor first physically attacked me five days before our wedding,” following some frustration Steiner had with her job, “Conor used my anger as an excuse to put both of his hands around my neck and to squeeze so tightly that I could not breathe or scream, and he used the chokehold to hit my head repeatedly against the wall.” She still stayed and married him, thinking it was a one-time thing.
One key important fact about her abuser was that he was also a victim of abuse by his stepfather growing up.
After 2 years of continuous domestic violence which ended up happening at least on a weekly basis. Like many others Steiner confesses, “I was mistaken in thinking that I was unique and alone in this situation,” she wasn’t alone, “One in three American women experiences domestic violence or stalking at some point in her life, and the CDC reports that 15 million children are abused every year, 15 million.”
So the come back to the question after dealing with this for 2 years and why it took her so long to leave was “I didn’t know he was abusing me.” Steiner described, “Even though he held those loaded guns to my head, pushed me down stairs, threatened to kill our dog, pulled the key out of the car ignition as I drove down the highway…”
“The other question everybody asks is, why doesn’t she just leave? Why didn’t I walk out? I could have left any time,” Steiner addresses, “To me, this is the saddest and most painful question that people ask, because we victims know something you usually don’t: It’s incredibly dangerous to leave an abuser.” Like others who decided to leave an abuser, Steiner followed with a disturbing statistic, “Over 70 percent of domestic violence murders happen after the victim has ended the relationship, after she’s gotten out, because then the abuser has nothing left to lose.”
“ I was able to leave, because of one final, sadistic beating that broke through my denial,” and that was what she described her wake up call when she, “realized that the man who I loved so much was going to kill me if I let him.”
On a happier note, she was able to move on forward and remarry with her second husband of 20 years. In her case she was lucky, but she wrote her book to help those who aren’t so lucky and are stuck in a similar situation she was in.
“I was able to end my own crazy love story by breaking the silence.”