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Which is why that Ivy League degree and the Wall Street job and his bright shiny future meant so much to him.If you had told me that this smart, funny, sensitive man who adored me would one day dictate whether or not I wore makeup, how short my skirts were, where I lived, what jobs I took, who my friends were and where I spent Christmas, I would have laughed at you, because there was not a hint of violence or control or anger in Conor at the beginning.Now, Conor did not come home one day and announce, "You know, hey, all this Romeo and Juliet stuff has been great, but I need to move into the next phase where I isolate you and I abuse you" — (Laughter) — "so I need to get you out of this apartment where the neighbors can hear you scream and out of this city where you have friends and family and coworkers who can see the bruises." Instead, Conor came home one Friday evening and he told me that he had quit his job that day, his dream job, and he said that he had quit his job because of me, because I had made him feel so safe and loved that he didn't need to prove himself on Wall Street anymore, and he just wanted to get out of the city and away from his abusive, dysfunctional family, and move to a tiny town in New England where he could start his life over with me by his side.Now, the last thing I wanted to do was leave New York, and my dream job, but I thought you made sacrifices for your soulmate, so I agreed, and I quit my job, and Conor and I left Manhattan together.
(Laughter) So my first message for you is that domestic violence happens to everyone — all races, all religions, all income and education levels. And my second message is that everyone thinks domestic violence happens to women, that it's a women's issue. Over 85 percent of abusers are men, and domestic abuse happens only in intimate, interdependent, long-term relationships, in other words, in families, the last place we would want or expect to find violence, which is one reason domestic abuse is so confusing.I didn't know that the first stage in any domestic violence relationship is to seduce and charm the victim.I also didn't know that the second step is to isolate the victim.Conor believed in me, as a writer and a woman, in a way that no one else ever had.And he also created a magical atmosphere of trust between us by confessing his secret, which was that, as a very young boy starting at age four, he had been savagely and repeatedly physically abused by his stepfather, and the abuse had gotten so bad that he had had to drop out of school in eighth grade, even though he was very smart, and he'd spent almost 20 years rebuilding his life.