Suzanne Perry was victimized by her husband for over 20 years. Today she speaks to educate the public about the profiles of abusers and abused, and encourages victims to gain the courage to get out. First of several in a series.
Life before, during
Suzanne Perry is not licensed, certified or
endorsed by any government, education,
social work or medical agency.
This presentation is for the sole purpose of
sharing her story in hopes of helping
someone realize and escape an abusive
relationship before it’s too late.
This is the first of several segments.
My Dad worked 2, sometimes 3 jobs to keep food on the table and
clothes on our back.
Mom stayed at home and was creative, empathetic, and nurturing. Not
until I was a teen did she take on a part-time job. We were very close.
I have one sister, Cece who is 5 years older than me.
As a child, I was often picked on because of my
complexion and dark curly hair. I came home
crying countless times because people called me
the ‘n’ word.
I was a friendly, outgoing person who didn’t fit in with the popular cliques, and
had 1-2 best friends that rotated over the years. As a teen, people thought I
was threatening or trouble because of my muscular build. In school, I was an A
student who usually made silly comments to get a smile. I was usually happy.
A little history…
I grew up in a suburb of Buffalo, NY called West Seneca in a
• Domestic violence occurs when one intimate
partner uses physical violence, coercion, threats,
intimidation, isolation, and/or emotional, sexual
or economic abuse to maintain power and
control over the other.
• Verbal and emotional abuse, such as continuous
degrading, belittling, or fault-finding behavior,
although more subtle than physical harm, is
no less destructive to victims.
I didn’t go to my graduation
because my school “sucked,” yet
he went to his graduation and had
a grad party, and of course I
needed to be there.
After this party, I was beat up and
called a whore because somebody
recognized me from high school.
• Does your partner accuse you of flirting or cheating?
• Are you afraid to disagree with your partner because
of his/her temper?
• Do you make excuses to yourself or to others for your
• Has your partner manipulated you with "head games?"
My story: To avoid being accused of ‘looking at someone,’ eventually I would
just stare at the ground. Even riding in his sports car, he’d say, “are you lookin
at someone?” Do you want to @!#$%^ him? I couldn’t look anywhere that
people were, or he’d accuse me of checking someone out.
Good-bye friends, Good-bye society,
at 1 ½ years of dating
Fat lip from being punched
in the mouth
Scratch from face-grab
Jaw, chin bruised, swollen
I was ‘trained’ to believe we
were soul mates, and the
gradual isolation was well
At 19 years old.
After whacking my shin
so hard with a ½”
glass mug that it
broke and carved
my shin thru to the
stitches inside and
I told my parents we
were wrestling and I
fell on the glass.
The next day I got this card with a
bouquet of roses.
Do you make excuses to yourself or to others for your partner's behavior?
6 months later, I left.
6 months after that, I came back…
WHY? Loneliness, not having anyone to talk about
it with due to shame
wanting to believe the controlling would stop…was
told if it happened again he’d let me leave.
**Abusers know how to push our buttons and
say everything we want to hear.**
Child BD party out with my parents… he wouldn’t
go. I was pre-occupied worrying about the
interrogation when I got home
Why stay ?
• Hope of change.
Many abusers are remorseful after abusing the victim.
• They promise never to hit again, agree to seek counseling
if the victim promises not to leave, blame stress, and
demonstrate his/her love for the victim in meaningful
• Since victims have often built their lives around the
relationship, they hope for change. When the abuser
acknowledges the error of his/her ways, when s/he breaks
down and cries and concedes the need for dramatic
change, hope is often born anew for the victim.
• Does your partner grab, pull, or push you and/or
hit in places where the bruises won't show?
• Does your partner threaten to harm or kill you,
your child, your pet, or your family?
• Does your partner force you to have sex or do
sexual things that make you feel uncomfortable?
• Does your partner make it difficult or impossible
for you to go to work or school?
Staying is not helping the kids or the family.
It’s enabling him/her.
Every holiday, kid birthday warranted a
fight. I couldn’t please him, couldn’t run fast
enough, didn’t answer him in the right tone
of voice, or was wrong predicting what he
The kids and I ran around like slaves
carrying out his orders, being torn apart if
we did something out of order or
misunderstood his wishes. By time it was
party time, we were exhausted and he was
Jackie’s 7th birthday party
I remember this like yesterday. Look at the faces.
“walking on eggshells”
counting things that he’d fight about later..
I left again.
It took almost a year but again he
convinced me he changed.
I returned, and we wed.
By this point, I had severed ties with my Mother.
She was not invited to my own wedding.
Honeymoon was over again,
back to square one…
I felt like I was stuck forever… under his thumb, removed from
the world, isolated from family… his doormat. The scapegoat
for all his problems. His punching bag. I grew weary.
To flex his power, if baby Joey was too much
work, he’d call and make me leave work early.
• Extreme jealousy
• Constant insults or ridicule
• Telling you what you can and can’t do
• Financial Control
• Possessiveness or controlling behavior
• Making false accusations
• Keeping you from seeing or talking with
family and friends
My story: He’d take my paycheck and send me to work with $2.
The torture isn’t just physical…
• Being insulted, intimidated, humiliated or isolated are
some of the more hidden signals that a relationship may
be abusive. Abusers often maintain power over their
partners through behaviors that lower their partner's self-
esteem and make them feel helpless.
• Abusers may use both emotional and physical abuse to
exert control. Even if it does not leave scars that you can
see, emotional abuse can cause serious harm.
Depression, anxiety and low self-esteem can be lasting
consequences of abuse.
We all kept the path clear – which
The kids and I worked in sync to keep everything
running smoothly, just to prevent outbursts from
him. He was the king in his throne.
They weren’t able to go out with their friends
anymore, they had to watch Joey and cater to his
and their father’s needs when I was at work.
Don’t give up!
You don’t EVER deserve to be slapped or
You’re not alone, and
feeling guilty is NORMAL.
Get out, get help. Please.
It’s ok, you’re not alone.
Buffalo NY Crisis Services: 716-834-3131
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
OP Music House, Inc.
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