Mary Jo Buttafuoco, who was hurled into the tabloid spotlight in 1992 after she was shot in the head by her husband’s teenage lover, will talk about destructive relationships Wednesday, April 20, at SUNY Cortland.
Buttafuoco, using lessons from her own life, will discuss the importance of avoiding toxic relationships and demanding better, more loving connections with people at 7 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium.
Her presentation, “Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Recognizing and Avoiding Toxic Relationships,” is sponsored by the Student Government Association. The program, although geared to college students, is free and open to the public.
“Relationships start the day we are born and define us throughout our lives,” Buttafuoco said. “We start relationships with our parents and siblings, setting us up for a lifetime of interacting with friends, classmates, co-workers and partners.”
“This is a lesson too seldom shared with young people. The quality of your friendships, your relationships and your self esteem are the true key to a happy, fulfilling life.”
In May of 1992, Buttafuoco was shot in the head in front of her Long Island home by a 17-year-old girl. During the media frenzy that followed, Buttafuoco and the entire world learned that her husband, Joey Buttafuoco, had been involved in an affair with the shooter, Amy Fisher, who the tabloids nicknamed “Long Island Lolita.” Fisher had been only 16 when the affair with Joey Buttafuoco began.
For years — while television movies were made and her married name became a national punch line — Mary Jo Buttafuoco stood by her husband, enduring constant pain and numerous surgeries because of her injury. Her focus and priority was getting well and raising her two children, who were age 9 and 12 at the time of the incident.
Seven years later, Mary Jo Buttafuoco finally got the strength to leave her marriage and began to rebuild her life. She wrote a book; Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know, in the hopes that it would help younger people avoid the mistakes she made.
Although many of today’s college students were just children at the time of her shooting, Mary Jo Buttafuoco believes that her message of recognizing and escaping unhealthy relationships is an important one for the current college generation.