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Guest Interviews

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Jeanette M. Towne

2152 5/2/11

Jeanette M. Towne (JT) is a successful entrepreneur. She is the president and CEO of a U.S. based communications corporation and a member of Women Business Enterprise. Jeanette is also a survivor. For ten years, she lived in a violent and abusive marriage. Today, she is here to share her story of how she broke free of that life of imprisonment to live a life that is overflowing with love. Sheila Schuller Coleman (SSC) interviews Jeanette.

SSC: Today, Iím proud to introduce to you Jeanette Towne. She is a President/CEO of a multi million dollar corporation. However, in her late teens, early 20ís, Jeanette was a prisoner in her own home. For ten years, she was the victim of domestic abuse. Please welcome with me, Jeanette Towne.

Jeanette, thank you for being here and having the courage to tell your story.

JT: Thank you. It was at least a 22 year process before I could ever even talk about what I endured and what God brought me through.

SSC: So tell us, here you are the epitome of success and confidence. The antithesis of what everybody feels a victim of domestic abuse would be.

JT: Well I was a young girl, a nursing student and I really wanted to help people. I had been working in geriatric nursing as a nurseís aide, and was in my early years of college. I thought since I needed to make some money to pay for school, maybe I should waitress. I could make tips and that way pay for my tuition. So I left a coffee shop where I was working and went to this great Orange County nightclub. Here I was this very innocent young girl, not even old enough to drink let alone serve alcohol, and I went into this environment where Iím trying to make tip money.

In walks this man, much older than me, and he just crashed into my life. I thought this is the man of my dreams. Heís rich, educated, and Iím a starving student. I just thought this was a match that was going to be forever.

SSC: But once you got yourself into this situation, when did you realize youíd made a mistake?

JT: My parents tried to warn me. I brought him home to meet my parents and my mom pulled me aside and said ďyou need to run. This man has no character.Ē I couldnít see it and I thought she didnít understand young love.

So I eloped against my parents wishes. I dropped out of college, sold my car, handed over all my money to him and then moved 450 miles away where I was in the perfect storm. I had no friends, no money, no car, no job, and Iím married. My parents had modeled a great marriage and when youíre married, you stay committed for life.

We didnít have a good marriage. He had a very dark side. It started with threats and pushing, and it evolved into the most horrific forms of abuse with weapons and guns, knives to my throat, choking, physical and sexual assault. It was a living nightmare and I was in a prison I could not escape.

SSC: It was absolutely a nightmare, thereís no question about it. But you stayed married for ten years. Why did you stay? Why didnít you leave? Iíve heard some of the reasons such as the lack of resources: where to go, what to do, how to live, but there was another reason that kept you there, wasnít there.

JT: When I went into this relationship, he had this absolutely adorable one-year-old little girl. He had saved her from the clutches of an abortionist by breaking into the room when the operation was happening to abort his daughter. So when I met him, I was a nursing student and I thought ĎI could love this little girl as my own.í

SSC: You could rescue her.

JT: Yes, I could rescue her. So during our marriage, that was my baby. And he made it very clear that I would never see her again if I ever walked out that door. And then it turned into if I ever walked out that door, not only will I never see my daughter again, theyíll never find the pieces. I would be murdered. So I felt like there was really no way out, that I was going to be a victim. The only way I was going to get out was for him to die or me to be murdered.

SSC: So threats and manipulation were your prison bars.

JT: Absolutely. There wasnít a physical prison but an emotional prison and I had no power to get out. You become worn down. Youíre in a downward spiral. Itís an intellectual prison that you get caught into and you cannot leave. You begin to feel like you canít leave. Women get caught in these relationships and most of them do get out, but it often takes several escape attempts. I was one of the fortunate ones. I was blessed.

SSC: So what was the turning point for you?

JT: Well, fast forward, Iím 29 years old. Iím working for a fortune five company and am a golden girl at work, making lots of money, doing really well, but in my home, Iím a worthless nothing. My home life is awful. And this one night, heíd come home stoned and he violated me. Often times he would bring girlfriends home with him, but this night he came home alone.

The next morning I was getting ready for work and I realize he had taken my purse the night before. So I quietly went into the master bedroom to get my purse and I woke him up. I saw it at the same time he did - there was a hammer on the dresser. I began to run but realized he would just crush that hammer into my skull if I fled. My only chance for possibly surviving this was to just stop, crouch down and put my hands up.

So he came after me with the hammer, and I crouched down. There was a mirror in the bathroom so I could see what was happening, almost like slow motion. He was going to murder me. I started praying and crying and just asking for God to miraculously save my life.

And then something happened. He stood there, and something came bursting out of my stomach and through my mouth. I challenged him. He stopped and he dropped the hammer and there was enough of a break for me to escape and I never looked back.

SSC: Wow, so God did rescue you. He gave you this where with all to rise up and take your stand and that in itself is a miracle.

JT: It was definitely a miracle. I could almost imagine there were warring angels in the gap, standing there blocking his vision so I could escape.

SSC: Now take us forward because God has done a miracle of healing in your life.

JT: He absolutely has. So Iím a few years later, Iím out of this marriage, my life is back together and in walks this man into my life, Sam Towne. Now I didnít want the ďMĒ word. I didnít want men and I didnít want marriage. I was fine living by myself.

We met at a business function and had hit it off, and he asked me to go on a date. I was a little suspicious. But then he said, ĎI heard thereís this new church in town and theyíre having a special speaker.í So he invited me to church with him and I said Ďchurch on a Friday night?í

So we went to this church and for the first time I listened to the worship music and I heard the speaker and I felt like God was absolutely working in my heart. I could feel the fingers of healing inside of me and all the pieces and fractures were being stitched together. I began weeping and at that moment, I accepted Christ. It was as if in that moment, my head knowledge of believing in my Lord dropped to my heart, and I knew God had miraculously saved me. He had picked me up and plucked me out of the mire. Not only did He take me out of a prison, but He freed me. He made me whole. And He started the process of taking those fractured pieces and sewed them together and helped me to become whole again.

SSC: Praise God, because only God can do that. So you married Sam Towne?

JT: Yes, a few years later, I did the ďMĒ thing and we had a beautiful wedding with our family around us. But the biggest heartache on the day of my wedding was that I would never be able to carry a child. When I was in my first marriage, I was left scarred and the doctor told me there was no physical way Iíd ever bare children. And Iíd shared that with Sam and his answer was if we have to adopt, God will give us children. Well two years after we were married, God blessed us with miracle twins.

SSC: Yeah!

JT: Samuel, Jr., and Jessica Marie, our beautiful twins, are now in college. And to further complete our family, we foster adopted two more children. So I was like Hannah in bible times; I was barren and now I have a quiver full. I have four beautiful children.

SSC: Wow, praise God, Jeanette.

JT: And we have a marriage that is immersed and anointed in Godís blessing.

SSC:Wow! Jeanette, before we close, I just want to say I donít think if people saw you when you were in your abusive relationship, they probably wouldnít have known you were being abused. There are women who are watching us on television today and they may be in an abusive relationship and havenít shared it with anybody.

So Jeanetteís story is to give you hope and to know that you donít have to stay in that relationship for one more moment. We encourage you to seek help immediately because today Jeanette radiates happiness and her life is filled with love, and you deserve the same.

Jeanette, thank you for coming and sharing your story with us. God bless you.

JT:Thank you.

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