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She Believed She Deserved a Better Life. So Did You.
14th Apr


She Believed She Deserved a Better Life. So Did You.

This year’s Coburn Place graduate speaker at Blue Breakfast was Jeanette Perkins. If you’ve been a regular reader, you’re familiar with her incredible story – involving a daring escape from a fire set by her abuser, a literal window of opportunity. If not, you can read about here.

But nothing can compare to hearing her story in her own words.

Jeanette radiates warmth. She’s a caring person full of faith and humor. Once she got passed a small case of nerves, she spoke to the sold out crowd of 300+ as if she were speaking to a small group of her besties.

She is extremely grateful for all that Coburn Place has done for her. But before we continue, let’s clarify one thing. She might as well have said, everything that you (insert your name here) has done for her. YOU are Coburn Place. The work we do is your support in action. And it’s changing lives and breaking the cycle of violence. Together we raised $60,000 to empower more victims to live as survivors. We couldn’t be more grateful.

And neither could Jeanette. Her words teared up many eyes and prompted a standing ovation. The response was overwhelming.

Jeanette shared these words:

I am a blessed and grateful survivor. I escaped an abusive relationship that had pretty much been going on for 39 years. I’m a survivor of sexual abuse from a family member. Survivor of abuse from a significant other. Most of all, I’m a 5 yr recovering addict. A lot of the abuse I suffered, was due to myself. I’m from a little town up north called South Bend. You’ve probably heard of it – Notre Dame. (Laughter from the crowd) I had a wonderful childhood. I could not have asked for a better family.

But as a teenager, I developed a strong attraction to the wrong guys. I found myself in a relationship with a man who I thought really and truly loved me and would take care of me for the rest of my life. Unbeknownst to me, it was a lie. That dream was not my reality. I stayed with him because I thought everything that was going wrong with my relationship was my fault. I believed my life revolved around him and he defined who I was. Once again, the devil is alive.

It took a major turn for me when one day he decided that if he couldn’t have me, then no one could. He proceeded to lock me in our apartment, set it on fire with me in, causing me to jump from a second story window to save my life. I left that place and ran to my daughters’ and started making calls to find a safe place to be. I stayed there for five months.

Then someone handed me an application to Coburn Place. I filled out that application with joy and in the hopes that this would actually set a course for me to begin to change my life.

When I got the phone call that I was accepted into the Coburn Place program, I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe it when they asked me to come over and look at my apartment. When they took me to my apartment, I broke down and cried. I could not imagine that these people did this for me. (tears flow) And when I found that it wasn’t the staff, that it was volunteers, from out in the community, who took their time and their energy and their effort from their busy lives to come in and set up this beautiful apartment for a person who was battered and broken like me. I was grateful. There were no words to be expressed for the way I felt at that time.

I found and changed my life at Coburn Place. It gave me the drive and the energy to get up every day and look for new ways to restart my life. It gave me a new way of thinking that my way of life – that I was so used to living – was not the way that it should have been. Coburn Place gave me a second chance at life. It gave me a second chance at being a mom, grandmother, daughter and wife.” (Audience claps)

I could never stop saying how much I love Coburn Place. It has inspired me to move and do some awesome things in my life, things I never would have thought I could have done. I moved on from Coburn Place with a sense of independence. And a sense of strength with something I could hold onto. And not only that, but I can go back in those doors at any day and talk to anyone of the staff members. I can call and talk to any one of the staff members. I love them. They’re my family. When I moved here, I didn’t have anyone but them. They gave me guidance and love. They showed me that people in this community and this world really do care. When I could not depend on no other person, Coburn Place the staff – Ms. Julia, Ms. Jenni, Ms. Lara, Ms. Talia, Ms. Josefa – I love them all.

There is no other place I would have rather been than Coburn Place. I could not see myself and my life starting over without them. I am now today a married woman, with my own home. My grandchildren and a new life and satisfaction. All I can say is that with God and Coburn Place by my side, Jeanette cannot go wrong. (Standing ovation from the sold out crowd of 300+)


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