Jillian's Experience Part 3

Standing in My Power

woman spread hand

Note: This is Part 3 in a series of posts by Jillian. Read Jillian's Experience Part 1 and Part 2.

For quite some time, I was in a state of extreme pain, extreme agony, extreme dissociation with myself. Fooling the minds of the people around me, I kept the illuminating spirit that others saw. I wore the big, beautiful smile I have when I am around others. I put on a facade for quite some time to keep others away, in fear that they might realize that something was different about me.

I was unable to be present with the people I cared about the most. I was preoccupying myself with thoughts that flooded my mind: “Did he do what he did to me because he believed he was helping? Or did he purposely use my spirituality to gain some advantage over me? To convince me that the wrong he was doing was actually his job? His duty?”

I noticed how quiet I had become, how timid I felt around others, which is something I had never experienced before. 

I reached out to the Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette (Louisiana) hoping to get a response that stated the church would ensure Mac Smith no longer assaulted and manipulated his victims, like he had done to me.

The bishop didn’t respond for almost 7 months. His response, when it came, was appalling.

After this, I lost faith in not only the church, but myself too. I was in a state where I buried myself in feelings of confusion, frustration, helplessness, anxiousness, and fearfulness. I closed myself off to the world.

Right before I left the town I have always lived in, I reported what happened to me to the local authorities, since the Bishop had failed to respond for several months. The police did little to nothing, despite their knowledge of other victims that had also fallen prey to Mac Smith.

I found myself leaving the one place I had always called home, moving to a place that I told myself would provide healing and peace. It was a place that eventually provided me just that - after many, many years.

person in black and white long sleeve shirt

Photo by Maya Reagan on Unsplash

Photo by Maya Reagan on Unsplash

On January 22, 2020, I filed my case against Mac Smith in federal court.

Once the battle began, the wounds in my heart were ripped open, exposing the pain I carried to everyone. It felt as though I was under a microscope that was easily accessible for everyone to judge me. Attempting to fill my mind with other things, I wrote a cookbook, I attempted to launch my invention, the “MOMMYGOBAG”, and I helped pass a bill to help survivors of childhood abuse have their day in court to seek justice when they felt ready to.

All of these things that I set out to accomplish (and did accomplish) were distractions from what was on my mind all day, every day: feelings of paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, depression, and even thoughts of ending my own life. People around me would look at me and say, “Jillian has it all together! She can handle anything.” 

In hindsight, I realize now that my healing journey really began when I filed my case in court. For me, using my voice to tell my story and my experiences has been a huge tool in my healing journey. Filing my case and bringing awareness to what I endured was the first step I took to take my power back.

woman in white spaghetti strap top standing on the seashore

Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

About the Author

Jillian Coburn is an entrepreneur, inventor, outdoorswoman, and mother of three who is passionately committed to supporting and elevating women who have nowhere to turn and living under the shadows of domestic violence. A survivor herself, she assists women living with abuse by empowering and teaching them how to get out, heal and build a life they’ve always imagined.

Jillian is an author, speaker, and advocate who is dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and holding offenders accountable.

Published by SurvivorSpace, an initiative of Zero Abuse Project