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Sue Perry’s life of service expands to help those suffering domestic abuse

Sue Perry

 Sue Perry has devoted her entire adult life to helping others.

For nearly 40 years she worked as a registered nurse, primarily in obstetrics, delivering or caring for an astounding 5,500 babies.

For the past decade she’s helped organize annual health care mission trips to Mexico, providing care to more than 4,000 individuals, many of them orphans and those living in abject poverty.

And since 2004, she’s been sharing her extensive health care knowledge and experience with students at Nicolet College where she serves as a Nursing instructor.

Recently, Perry has added yet another dimension and chapter to her life: speaker and public advocate to end domestic violence.

It’s a subject she knows first hand and all too well.

This past fall, she published the book From Beneath The Tarp, a poignant autobiography that details the tragic abuse she suffered as a young adult in her first marriage and the long road to healing and redemption she has traveled since.

“It was a difficult book to write that brought up painful experiences and memories that I had stuffed away for 40 years,” she said. “But I knew that this was all part of my path, to put this into print and bring it out into the light.”

Along with writing the book, she began speaking more to small groups, mainly of other women who had suffered at the hand of an abuser. And as her inner voice grew bolder, she expanded the audience to include high school and college students, health care providers, and law enforcement professionals.

“Unless you’ve been in that situation, no one really knows the impact on those enduring domestic violence,” Perry said. “We must help rebuild that person’s belief that she or he can survive without the abuser. Only the victim can decide when it is safe to leave. Statistically, more women are killed in an abusive environment when they are leaving. It is a very dangerous time.”

Her advocacy work on multiple fronts was recently recognized by the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse, which honored Perry at the State Capitol with its 2016 Courage Award for Outstanding Achievement.

She is now also serving a three-year term on the 13-member statewide domestic abuse council, which advises the secretary of the Department of Children and Families and the legislature on matters relating to domestic abuse policy and funding.

“I want to openly share information on domestic violence and provide ongoing support for those who do not yet have a voice in the matter,” Perry said. “I want to let people who have suffered abuse know that healing is possible.”

For more information about domestic violence, and to receive help in the Northwoods, contact the Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at (715) 362-6841 or by email at

In the photo above Sue Perry delivers a moving Commencement Address to the December 2016 graduates.

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