Monday, November 9, 2015

Domestic Violence - Katy

My service learning program is working with the Lexington Public Library, and the social issue that I chose to investigate for this was the literacy gap in Lexington and elsewhere in the world. Though I continue to find this topic very important, I’ve decided to change topics for my final speech, and in doing so looked for a Ted Talk on this new subject. For the past two years I have become increasingly concerned and interested with domestic violence. After an event within my family came to light, I took it upon myself to learn everything there was to know about domestic violence. So, today I chose to analyze the Ted Talk by Leslie Morgan Steiner titled: Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave. She gave this speech in 2013 at TEDxRainier.
Leslie's book on her experiences about Domestic Violence.

The overall speech was piercing, as Professor Martin would say. Her words struck you some place inside where you no longer heard the words but felt them. The audience most likely held many misconceptions about the topic beforehand, as Leslie addressed. So many of the things that the audience might have believed that they knew about the topic, they didn’t actually. Leslie recognized each of these misconceptions and talked about the truth. She also got the audience involved in her speech towards the end. She said that her speech wasn’t about her, it was about all of them. It was about the audience because this cruel act of violence can happen to any of them, or their mothers, sisters, friends, etc. She asked for a call of action by spreading their newfound understanding of the topic and not keep silent.
Mrs. Steiner’s eye contact was critical during her piece. By looking at members of the audience and occasionally at the camera, she showed confidence. She was clearly courageous and not scared to talk about her past. As for visual aids, she had an actual (unloaded) gun with her, that she used to describe the way that her ex-husband would hold one to her head, threatening to kill her. Towards the end, she also included a picture of her new family. Those were the only visual aids, and perhaps could’ve used some more, but they were both very effective. As for evidence, she included many statistics (like one in three women will experience some form of domestic violence or stalking in their lifetime) and also her own personal, moving anecdote. Throughout the entire speech she had natural gestures, and not canned or practiced ones. It truly seemed like she was just telling her story to a group of people unrehearsed.
Leslie Morgan Steiner holding gun as a visual aid in her Ted Talk.

The only criticism I have on the speech would be to not look down to the ground so much when she happens to (maybe) forget her next line. Other than that, I felt that the speech was powerful, moving, and hopefully gave everyone in the audience reason enough to fight against domestic violence. I admire Leslie Morgan Steiner in her activism against domestic violence, and the strength that it must take to get up on stage and tell the grim details of her past.
Here is a link to the Ted Talk if you want to view it yourself. I highly recommend it. 


  1. This Ted Talk is very applicable to some of the issues seen in my organization. Does she go into detail about ways to get out of a violent relationship, or is it just some of the facts about the impact domestic violence has on an individual?

    1. It was more of an account of her own experience and how she personally got out of the situation. She ended up building the courage to tell everyone that she knew what was happening and finally the cops as well. Although for some, this may not seem like a great option. I think that the overall purpose for this Ted Talk was to raise awareness so that we can create easier outlets for victims to turn to.