Supporters of Love

Friday, August 26, 2011

Suzanne Perry: From Victim to Victor

Meet Suzanne:
(Middle) Suzanne Perry.  Photo provided by Suzanne Perry.

Can you describe your non-profit, OP Musichouse and the services you offer?

I have always been a serious music lover. The energy of live music is what I chose as my medium and I hold live music events all over Western New York as a means to promote some fantastic talent while using my own story to raise awareness about the realities of domestic violence.  I saturate the media focusing between music and domestic violence and the do-gooders in the community that mainstream hasn't caught wind of yet.

We provide moral support for men and women impacted by domestic abuse and violence: parents, siblings, coworkers in all kinds of scenarios.  We also give physical product to people coming out of an abusive relationship called "take your reins" care packs.. it's custom to each person's needs from food to diaper coupons to toiletries to household items or clothing. (No cash is dispersed.) Aside from that, we offer a network of support and referral services custom to each individual's needs.
Our big event of the year is the "EXPOSURE Concert: Because love shouldn't hurt" which is a 3-day live show with over 40 bands, uniting against domestic violence and abuse. It streams live around the world to expose the issue. It's been watched from 8 countries and 34 states and continues to grow in popularity.

You were married to an abusive partner, but were able to finally leave.  What gave you the strength to get out?

I was with my abuser from the time I was 17. At 20 we had our first child and 6 months later I fled.  He cajoled me into taking him back and I returned. This happened twice more and then I married him.  The final time I was feeling pretty trapped and the beatings got more intense and frequent. Our daughter, then 16, said to me "It's him or me, I can't take living like this anymore."  I couldn't let my girl run away! We made a pact right then and there that she could call 911 but ONLY when I told her it was okay.  It happened about a week later. It was the last time I would ever be beat up by him again. The fighting was well underway when she came home from a friend's and she was ordered into her room.  My husband continued to throw me around, shouting and swearing, kicking and spitting, slapping and throwing me into walls and smothering me in our bed.  After passing each other and she pleaded for me to give the OK to call, on the 3rd time I finally said OK, call now.
A short while later, the Buffalo police came and scary enough it was all calm when they arrived.  It was about 11pm on a Thursday night and he sat on the couch with a can of beer in the dark, the long living room only being illuminated by the blue of the TV. They asked about a disturbance.  He very calmly and smoothly said to the officer that nothing was wrong, and that he was, "Only having a beer with my wife, tell him, Honey..."  The officer shined his light into my husband's face as he spoke, then on the can of beer.  He moved the light to me standing back to the wall at the far end of the room, noticing the blood dripping down my jaw, blood on my clothing, and the bright red hand print on my throat.  They said, "Come on, asshole, you're coming with us."   Our daughter and I went down and filed immediately for orders of protection and because I promised the kids this time, I never looked back.
Suzanne Perry in good spirits!

Can you give an example of the type of abuse you endured?

I am a generally optimistic person and in a good mood. But it was usually fear driving home worrying about what level of drunkenness I would find him in, if we got "bad mail," who he encountered, how he was feeling or if he would be in some ridiculous tangent for no good reason at all.  Nothing I did was good enough for him, and he was only happy when he felt completely in power and nobody was "talking back."  Everything had to be just so.  The feeling that he was the only person in the world I could really trust; I was supposed to confide in him only - it was a slow brainwashing. 
 I needed to ramp up for a month just to go to K-mart.  He would constantly tell me how fat and ugly I was, how stupid and disgusting I was and how nobody would ever want me. He would rape me and insist that that's all I was good for. He peeled every layer of my being away, leaving me isolated from family; my own mother wasn't even invited to our wedding.. friends were non-existent.  He would accuse me of cheating on him, lying to him and when I would numb myself to his insults, he would verbally attack the kids. He would tell our daughter that he would make sure she would never get her driver's license or a good job, that she was fat and moved like a slug, he told our son he "sucked for a son."  When I stepped up in their defense, I was kicked, spat on and literally thrown to the floor. Scared to leave and scared to stay -  It was pure hell. 
Bracelets raise funds for OP Musichouse.  Purchase here for $1.00.  

What is your personal opinion of how we treat domestic violence in our society and what changes would you like to see?

Domestic violence is grossly misunderstood. Victims need to be identified and supported, not treated like second-class citizens or hushed up. For a person to finally get the strength to go for a protection order and the courts closing earlier, is unacceptable. For a person who did make it and has to go to court against the abuser, so sitting in the same waiting room especially unsupervised, is a recipe for disaster. It's not rocket science, protect those who need it, we do not ask for anything unreasonable - only for the law to enforce and protect the rights we are born with - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.. not to be insulted, beaten, and held prisoner in our own homes, our paychecks taken, our fingers broken and our compassion mutilated.   Shelters promising confidentiality being constantly found online or otherwise, resources who outlived the nonprofit life-cycle, it seems more and more the protections are less and less and that we are a neglected population.

If someone is reading this and feels "stuck" in an abusive partnership and does not see a way out, what advice would you give them?

I hope my story will inspire exactly those people - to recognize behavior markers that can spark danger. Extreme jealousy, barring you from doing things you love - these are huge warning signs.  A healthy relationship is one in which each partner supports the other.  Not putting the other down to feel better about their self.  If you suspect something isn't right, go with your gut.  Our intuition is almost always the voice of reason and sometimes what appears to be love masks out some real red flags.  Don't even walk, RUN from the relationship - and they will try to do things like cry, threaten suicide, some very irrational things to get you to return... don't take the call, don't allow any explanations. Get out and stay out, it very well could save your life.
More bracelets from OP Musichouse.  OP Musichouse Store  

Why do you believe that creative outlets are an integral key to survival and awareness?

We need to be able to express ourselves -  vent.  It's healthy.  To keep a journal/write, draw, paint or other means of expressing our feelings and situations is how we can cope and identify our innermost emotions.  Usually in an abusive situation, the perpetrator discovers and destroys the "proof" of the feelings and experiences.  This underlines their power and control over their victims.  To be liberated and allow to express freely, without reticule, chastising or violent outbursts is nirvana for a survivor.  Then to meet other artists and musicians who have shared similar horror paths helps us to realize we aren't alone, and can relate.  It's very therapeutic to let those emotions flow through their chosen medium.

The Compassion Fashion Project raises personal care products, clothing and accessories for women's shelters.  How important do you think this is for women trying to start their lives over?

I love the idea. Creativity rocks.  To share collective creativity with people who are scared and may feel unattractive, confused, numb and helpless - this is perfect.  It shows love, caring and beauty, because they are receiving items crafted with people's very hands.  Hand-made items spell LOVE. Someone took their time just for you.  It shows compassion.  People who reach the shelter are still "in shock" and they often feel like nobody cares, while waiting for scary court dates and learning how to cope; receiving warm items from the heart to make them look better, feel better and start anew is priceless.  Often people at a shelter only have the clothes on their back... to receive a nice robe, purse or something personal to call their own is very important at this stage.  I am so happy to have found your project online and that you have found me, and I look forward to a collaborative effort in the near future.  It's a beautiful thing that you do and you have my full support!

Where can people find you/your non-profit to keep up with what you are doing and how can someone get involved?

I have a few monthly radio programs, "Suzapalooza's Spotlight" is a 90 minute show that I invite original bands on to be interviewed and we promote their music and upcoming shows which is on WBNY out of Buffalo ( , and "Pied Piper of Positive" on Think Twice Radio ( ) as well as Suzanne Perry: Victim to Victor on Blogtalkradio ( Also I love to get email... I actually got a piece of fan mail in the US Mail... and I framed it after wiping the tears from my eyes.  

Our website is 

Please write to me personally at or fill out the contact form on the OP Music House page.  I personally read and respond to every single message, it means so much to get feedback and continue to support each other!
I reach as far and wide as possible and am trying very hard to raise money to support a 32 town tour next summer.  I feel like I'm running in a vat of molasses trying to reach people with the voice of hope, and optimism that all CAN live a productive life outside of control and violence.  We need to expose the abusers and stand up to bullyish behaviors!

Watch this Slideshow:


  1. WOW! What a remarkable woman Suzanne Perry is for standing up for herself and her children! Great story!

  2. She is truly someone to be admired. Suzanne will be joining our Contributing Writers very soon, too. I can't wait!

  3. What an amazing story!!! I also love her medium of reaching and empowering people. Can't wait to see her on CFP :D

  4. We have several new contributors on the way. I am hoping this will make the blog have many voices, so that we can reach more people.

  5. Suzanne is such a phenomenal woman! I admire her strength and courage so much. I'm so glad that she shared her story with us. She will be abundantly blessed for being the amazing inspiration that she is (I Love Her Spirit)!!!! Love-n-Hugs :)