In this video, Jillian talks about her experience showing up and sharing her story in order to promote systemic change in state laws.
"Hi guys. How has my personal experience created space for me to make change in the community? I never in a million years would have thought that I would be creating change. When I mean change, I mean changing the law. It didn’t start overnight. I remember the first time that I heard about SNAP (Survivors Network Against Priests), it was a guy that I met, Kevin Bourgeois, and he was part of SNAP in New Orleans. And I would catch him on these calls because at the time, Katie and I had a lot of processing to do. It was a great place to just hear others who were wounded by priests, and sharing techniques and tools, and you know there was a community of people that were actually helping. So by showing up every day was a great example of me, and the universe, of gifting me the ability to be involved in legislation of change. And when I mean that, I mean that I actually got invited to sit at the table with a House representative in Louisiana to pass House Bill 492. By me showing up, providing a voice, and sharing others’ voices - black white, yellow, green whatever – because abuse does not discriminate, I was actually able to be part of the change, and that was such a triumphant moment for myself having my daughter, who I had at 18, sit behind me and see me be part of change. And I think that is extremely important when we are healing as a community, as a family, and as a victim, to have a support, and know that your story matters too.
So, how does that work? Well, I think what you have to do is show up every day. If you’re comfortable with disclosing your story and availing your story to the justice system, know that it’s not going to be easy, that it’s going to be hard, but that is a way that you can show up to create change. Writing may be a way. Maybe you want others to write your story out so that others can hear what happened to you, so that you can share techniques, and things that worked for you from your experience. Maybe that’s what it may look like. Maybe you paint. Maybe you become this amazing painter for therapeutic healing, I don’t know. All of this, and me showing up, me going to these meetings, created the space for me to show up in Louisiana, to fight for justice for survivors, but then also give me the courage to come here to Texas, to fight the state of Texas, to open up the statute of limitations for all survivors.
So again, it’s basically you are calculating where you are. This is a process for everyone, but just know that your voice matters, and know that you can be the change. Honestly, anyone can be the change. Contacting your local state representative, contacting your state senator, in your district, they have to hear you. And if you were a victim and you have a story, you know what? They care more about those stories than they do about the politicians and the attorneys going in, because at the end of the day, we the people vote them in. And I think it’s a beautiful thing to see other districts open their doors, hearing survivor stories. I’ve seen it, I’ve worked along with so many powerful people. Kathryn Robb, a great example, with CHILD USA, taught me so much, taught me that I matter and all of us do matter. And I think that if you’re looking to create change, that is the way to do it. Get involved. Do your research. And I know that this site is going to give so many different places for you guys to land, to where it will match up to where you can contribute from your past afflictions.
So know that, just because you may be where you are, know that in five years, if you set that goal, you can be anywhere. But it takes work. It takes patience. It takes being kind to yourself, and showing up. And it’s a matter of choice if you’re wanting to show up or not. Maybe you may need to do some more work within yourself. It’s okay. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We are the best judges of ourselves and the worst at the same time. So be kind to yourself, and hopefully you can create the space that you want, in order to make the change that you desire."