Author of ‘Crazy Love’ to Speak at UM

Wednesday public event features Steiner on domestic violence

Leslie Morgan Steiner is slated to speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 9) at The Pavilion at Ole Miss as part of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Photo by Joy Asico/Asico Photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Crazy Love,” brings her compelling story of love and domestic violence to the University of Mississippi on Wednesday (Oct. 9).

Free and open to the public, the 7 p.m. program is slated for The Pavilion at Ole Miss. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In a TED talk exploring why domestic violence victims don’t leave their situations, Steiner said, “I had moved to New York City for my first job as a writer and editor at Seventeen magazine. I had my first apartment, my first little green American Express card and I had a very big secret.

“My secret was that I had this gun loaded with hollow-point bullets pointed at my head by the man who I thought was my soulmate, many, many times.

“The man who I loved more than anybody on earth held a gun to my head and threatened to kill me more times than I can even remember. I’m here to tell you the story of crazy love, a psychological trap disguised as love, one that millions of women and even a few men fall into every year.”

Steiner’s experience with domestic violence was the basis of “Crazy Love” (St. Martin’s Press, 2009). She has authored three other books and is a consultant and thought leader on women’s leadership, work-life balance, inspirational parenting, overcoming adversity and surviving violence against women.

Steiner lives in Washington, D.C., where she recently completed “The Naked Truth” (Simon and Schuster), a nonfiction work on female aging and sexuality after motherhood and divorce.

A Harvard and Wharton School of Business graduate, Steiner has worked with The Washington Post, Johnson & Johnson, Leo Burnett advertising agency and Seventeen magazine. For several years, she wrote “On Balance” for The Washington Post’s online news site and highlighted issues related to work and family.

Arthur Doctor, director of fraternal leadership and learning at Ole Miss, encouraged the university and Oxford communities to make plans to attend the program.

“This particular speaker, who discusses healthy relationships and brings awareness to domestic violence, is important to bring to campus because we know that there are students and others who may be struggling with difficult relationships every day,” Doctor said. “Speakers like Leslie Morgan Steiner can empower survivors to seek help and challenge friends and peers to speak up about the things they may witness.

“From videos I have seen, Leslie connects with the audience in a way that makes them evaluate their own relationships as well as draw inspiration from her story. I am extremely proud that the fraternity and sorority community, specifically the College Panhellenic Council, is taking the lead on this particular program and are using their prominent voice on campus for positive change.”

Mary Susan Gallien Clinton, of Naples, Florida, chair of the Ole Miss Women’s Council on Philanthropy, is a six-year member of the board of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and has testified at hearings in Washington. She first heard Steiner speak at a Delta Gamma convention in Orlando, Florida.

“Leslie’s riveting stories of abuse and ultimate survival captivated the large audience,” Clinton said. “Afterwards there was an outpouring of young women seeking guidance for themselves, family members and friends. Domestic violence crosses all ages, genders and socioeconomic lines.

“The social and physical isolation that often accompanies verbal and physical abuse reinforces fear and often discourages individuals from seeking help. Keeping another person in a state of chronic control can (involve), but does not require, physical violence. Anxiety is a key reason for not leaving, and this fear tragically is rational and justified by the survivor.”

The number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline – 800-799-7233 – will appear on The Pavilion’s jumbotron before and after Steiner speaks.