In this video, Jillian introduces herself and describes her history as a survivor who turned to her faith community for help, only to experience abuse. Through perseverance and therapy, she has dedicated her life to supporting survivors and preventing abuse.
"Hi, my name is Jillian Edwards Coburn. I'm an author and advocate I'm also a mom of three, a military wife, and I have a lot of other hats. I am here today to share some stories about who I was before all these amazing hats that I wear. At the age of 17, I was raped by the local pharmacist. I did go to UMC. I performed a rape kit and that was it. I was scared that they would call my mom and dad and I think I was scared for them to call my mom and dad because I come from an extremely indocturned Catholic Family
I'm also a Survivor, an adult Survivor of abuse by a priest in our community, and that was a very hard time in my life, I think probably the hardest time in my life. I had no tools, no accessibility until I had to actually go forward and file a federal suit against my faith, which I'm still Catholic to this day, I'm a true Catholic. And I triumphed in federal court where we were able to settle in mediation. My experience as a young woman was extremely hard and I guess as a young woman you don't have those tools. You have friends, you have other people, and you're really not being mindful about how this is going to affect you later on in life. And it did affect me later on in life, it affected me in relationships, it affected me in marriages, it affected me with friendships, and it also affected me as a go-getter person that I am today. It was my downfall, I think. I let a lot of people take advantage of me because I just went on my way as I said. I got married at a very young age. Even at a young age I had priests telling me even when things were getting rough - I was married to an addict and we had a child together. We had two children together and I wanted to get out. I hated it, I was miserable, we didn't know each other, and I was 19 years old raising literally little kids and I didn't know what I was doing. And I went to the priest and he kept telling me to be more submissive with my husband. So I guess the vulnerability and the brainwashing of a faith community created that I could trust this healing priest who saved me from my terrible back that I have and from cervical cancer, but it didn't happen that way and I was hoodwinked by not a priest, as my attorney called him a charlatan, and I thought that I could easily write a letter to my bishop and him gladly shepherd me back to my Catholic faith, but it took six months for him to digest everything that I had sent to him.
So why am I here? I'm hoping that my story, I'm hoping that anything that I have learned through this journey of life as we call it and the site that I think is amazing to help those who are looking for help and don't know where to turn because as a young girl, I didn't know where to turn I didn't know who to speak to, and even as a young adult at 35, I went to someone who healed people hoping that he would heal me, and I was abused. And I want those to know that it's okay, that there's so many resources out there. Knowing that an attorney who did not take my case, the best advice he told me was go get trauma therapy - best thing that I could ever have done. So I'm hoping that everything that I have experienced and my story shines bright in all of us, because ultimately that's what God wants us to do is to be that vessel and that love and that light that he is and that is what's pushing me forward. That is why I was on the committee to help passage in Louisiana and we magically triumphed. That is why I'm here in Texas trying to triumph through for all survivors because it is about the kid and about the innocence that is taken from them. And even listening to my clients, the Boy Scouts of America human trafficking cases, I am providing hope for them by giving them tools that they can use to get them through that part of feeling like there's no one. Because there are people, there's a site, and there's people like me who have been through it that can help you.
So I hope that this message contributes to you and if it speaks something to you, I hope that you can come back and you find more resources. Thank you so much and I hope everyone creates an amazing day."