Local Escapes Domestic Violence, Becomes Entrepreneur

This is MY Story.

Standing Her Ground... (reprinted from WNY Women in Business; December 2009) By Nicole Gawel Twenty-two years.

That was the length of time Suzanne Perry was abused, isolated and estranged from her family, friends and the world around her by a husband who took every opportunity to tell her she was worthless, useless and would never amount to anything. She was allowed to go to her job, but had to come right home or face the consequences.
Her three children were prisoners of his behavior, also. Perry’s former husband wouldn’t let her talk to her children unless he was present.

By 2007, the frequency and intensity of the abuse had increased to a point where Perry’s oldest daughter gave her an ultimatum: the daughter said that either her father needed to go, or she would leave herself.

That ultimatum woke Perry up. She had left and returned to that man three times in 13 years, and the final time she had married him. Clearly, this could go on no longer.

Although Perry couldn’t really talk to her daughter alone, the two managed to make a pact that when things got bad, 911 would be called.
“I tried calling for help,” said Perry. “I was told if I had a black eye, nothing could be done, but if I was kicked with a shoe, than that was okay. So was I supposed to go home and ask to be kicked? I really started to feel helpless at that point.”

On a Thursday night in November 2007, the violence escalated. Her daughter asked if she could call after Perry’s lips swelled up. Perry declined. Her daughter asked after a second incident, which resulted in blood spattered on Perry’s shirt. She still declined. After a third incident, Perry looked in the mirror, saw bright red hand marks on her throat and, finally, with more visible evidence, the authorities were called and he was taken away.

The next morning an order of protection was issued against the father of Perry’s children, and this past July the divorce was finalized.
A month after her husband was removed, Perry and her children went to the mall in December. In more than a decade, she had not set foot in a mall. Everything was so colorful, lit up and new, just like Perry’s future.

Her new freedom gave Perry the opportunity to rediscover her children’s unique personalities and gifts. And it gave another gift of its own: the opportunity to reconnect with her mother during her mother’s last 18 months of life.
“I love having no one to answer to. I like being able to not care if someone doesn’t like how I’m dressed. I also love being a regular person and that I can walk into a public place and strike up a conversation and make someone laugh or smile,” said Perry. “It feels so good spreading smiles. I love waking up being free. It’s something regular people take for granted, but not me. It was taken away from me for 22 years, so it was like living in prison all that time.”

“I have a chipped front tooth from his wedding ring,” Perry continued. “My dentist asked if they could fix it and I told them no. It’s a reminder of the thorns I bore for so long and it keeps me strong.”

But her new life was not without challenges. She lost her job, and her employer successfully contested her unemployment claim. She found herself with no income and a new house in Orchard Park.

Throughout her entire life, Perry has worked for information technology (IT) companies. In recent years, many of the companies in the area downsized or closed up shop for good. Perry’s most recent employer couldn’t even make payroll.
“I thought, ’Okay. I’m going to take my former employer’s clients and their technicians with me.’ And that’s exactly what I did,” said Perry. “Fortunately, because of my work ethic, I had developed a good rapport with clients during the years. I decided I wouldn’t lay myself off, so I opened my own company. I had a dime and a dream.”
Perry established On A Dime Installations in April 2008. She named the company not only for the dime and a dream she started with, but also for the connotation of precision of stopping or turning on a dime. She wants her company to embody that precision, quick thinking and efficient performance.

On A Dime Installations provides telecommunication equipment. If there is a signal, Perry’s company can sell and install it. Her services and products include computer networks, phone systems, structured cabling, video walls, home theatre, point of sale systems, menu boards, and interactive vending machines.
“Because we are a small business, we can boast anti-corporate pricing,” said Perry. “I meet with every client so it’s personal.”

Currently, she is her only formal employee, although she contracts with additional technicians as needed.

By spring 2010 Perry would like to have five full-time technicians and by the fall reach 10. In late spring, she plans to open an office in the Village of Orchard Park.

“I feel my goals are very realistic because I am honest and passionate about my work and I am like an open book,” said Perry. “I can’t sell something if I don’t believe in it. I just won’t do that.”

When Perry began her company last year, she had all national-level accounts. When the recession began, those accounts reduced their spending. When the going got tough, Perry got going yet again.

Perry’s focus changed to become local. Initially, she made a presence in Orchard Park, joining the chamber of commerce and continually supporting local and small businesses. The idea of digital signage came to Perry.

After sharing her story, Perry discovered the problem of domestic violence is far more prevalent than many believe.

“People started pouring their hearts out to me. I’m not a counselor and I didn’t know what to do with it,” said Perry. “Music is expression and the ability to create without being judged seemed perfect.”

That realization inspired Perry to begin a second venture that will help raise awareness for domestic violence and family abuse victims. It is a music venue with a recording studio and coffee house. It is scheduled to open May 2010.
Perry and her daughter, who is a musician, collaborated on the idea. After extensive research from numerous victims, they found that victims of violence share a common ground. The victims are trained to be silent.

“If [the abusers] were exposed, they would shrivel up and die,” said Perry. “My idea was to sell purple musical notes just like the Juvenile Diabetes sneakers, with the word ’exposure’ written on it. I want to turn up the volume and really reach out to anyone that needs it.”
To date, Perry has aided three women to stay independent from their abusers. Perry holds the mantra that if she can help one, she can help many.

“I want to help anyone that feels helpless and isolated, like I once did, so that they may find hope and understand there is a way out,” said Perry.
SuzannePerry SuzannePerry
41-45, F
6 Responses Aug 28, 2010

Were you abused by a romantic partner? Did you abuse a romantic partner? In many cases, I believe the parents help pick up the pieces in the aftermath.

I am conducting research to explore the help provided by parents when faced with their adult child's experience with domestic violence.

If you are interested, please encourage your parents to take a 20 minute survey at http://www.takesurveynow.2truth.com/

Id like to provide an update since it's been a few years later now. I went public with my story, having been on By the People (Lin broadcasting) and Public Report (TCT) and featured in a bunch of papers and online publishings.

2013 completed the 4th annual global concert that I put on. A 3-day show with over 50 bands that play on 2 stages, and it's called EXPOSURE Concert: because love shouldn't hurt. I have also joined as an affiliate of P.A.V.E. and NO MORE.org.

The nonprofit I started in Jan 2010 has grown up and out of its skin, and I have modified the structure and renamed it the Love Shouldn't Hurt TV network!

Please connect with me on linkedin and facebook at Suzanneperry7, and LoveShouldntHurt.TV! Because, well, love shouldn't hurt!

This is for victim empowerment and public understanding. I am looking for more people to upload photos of themselves wearing a $1 wristband or just printing the banner for a photo, to be paired up with a song and being shared around the world.

Keep on stepping!

I lived in an abusive marriage until I was able to get out. Sadly, it was me who had to make the decision. My parents helped in the aftermath. I kept the abuse silent until I had the courage to leave. In many cases, I believe the parents help pick up the pieces. I am conducting research to help parents in the future because there is no support currently in place. If you are interested, please go take a 20 minute survey at http://www.takesurveynow.2truth.com

You may need to cut and paste.

If you know others who are helping their kids escape domestic violence, please encourage them to also complete this survey. The sooner we can get this documented, the sooner we can get support for the parents who witness their adult child's involvement with domestic violence.

Thank you, I can definitely get a lot of parental responses; please connect with me. I have made great strides since the post in 2009 and have held 4 successful global 3-day concerts called EXPOSURE Concert: because love shouldn't hurt and have founded "Love Shouldn't Hurt TV" please find me on Facebook, twitter and linkedin at SuzannePerry7.

Suzanne, this is Awesomeness! I checked out your website and YouTube videos. You are a true visionary for change. Just more verification how important my work is to help women.
I would love to stay in touch with you!

Thank you so much for your story!
This is exactly the kind of thing I would like to see more of. I am a sculptor doll maker who is using my experience of oppression in the home I live in along with other difficulties as inspiration for a project. I am working on designing a line of art dolls that each get their inspiration from being treated badly by others. The doll comes with a mythical story of empowerment and something like affirmations. It is hard to explain, they are intuitively designed. I hope to finish a series and test them on etsy. The goal is to e power women through my products who may live in oppression or difficulty they don't k ow how to get out of.
So we start with an exercise through art and play to mentally "psyche oneself up" back into personal power right where she belongs after being knocked down.
I am very much inspired by your achievements. You are a model of what I would like to see my product do to help other women!

Thank you very much! Since this article ran, I have really stepped it up. I shelved On A Dime Installations and am full throttle with OP Music House a nonprofit I created the 1st biz day of the new decade. I have held 3 annual "EXPOSURE Concert: Because love shouldnt hurt" shows, a 3-day music-fest that streams live around the world to expose domestic violence. It has been viewed from 8 countries and 34 states. My story finally aired on TV this past October. I would LOVE to stay in touch with you, all of you, we do inspire each other. Please check out OP Music House.org on the web or see some of the videos I have made .. just google 'Suzanne Perry, domestic violence.' Happy Holidays to you and remember this: One candle can light a million others and never lose its light or heat. A million candles can help those in t he fog to see and give warmth to a cold heart. And, we can not change an abuser. Give of yourself to those you have the same battle scars with. -nothing worse than that feeling that nobody else understands. Suzanne :)

i can relate to Suzanne Perry experience as i grew up in a home where my father was a alcoholic and he beat my mother, i remember many experiences that i never should have experiences , my mother endured the abuse all of my life till he died around my 21st birthday, i loved my dad , but it took me till i was about maybe 40 years old to realize it as i held hatred in my heart for him because he had abused my mom, i don't hate him anymore i love him even tho hes gone , my memories are there but now i remember the good that was there and try to forget about the bad, so it doesn't damage me anymore . the experience of living in a home where my father violently abused my mother and sometimes me, really had a bad effect on me, it made me withdraw and i or nobody else knew why, but healing comes with forgiveness ,then love is free to flourish ,reading sues story made me reflect upon my own experience,take care and love those around you then you enable them to love you back, that was my thought -tigerspaw1