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31 Days of Brave Hearts | Day 9, Julie Johnson

julie and dog

She loves bonfires at the beach and her gorgeous golden retriever, Nick.  She visits Disney at least once a year.  And her favorite word is hope.  Meet Julie.

What is your superpower?  Good listener.

Who do you adore?  I adore my mother. She is beautiful inside and out. I call her my clone because I’ll be thinking of something and she will say it or vice versa. We share the same traits being quiet and shy. We also share a bad sense of direction and have gotten lost quite a few times especially on the highway. I’ll always remember running out of gas and getting a ride with a trucker with a big body frame and tattoos. I followed my mom into the guy’s cab nervous as heck but I followed her lead. Fortunately for us the trucker had a wife and three little girls and he told us that if his family was stuck on the side of the highway he would want someone to help them.

What is the best gift you’ve received?  My horse Lacey when I was doing 4-H. My parents told me we were going to go get fitted for clothes for my 4-H club and instead I was led to a barn and a chestnut Arabian cross mare was in the cross ties. Never in my life would I have thought I would get a horse of my own so that was simply amazing.

Your mother always told you…She always told me she loved me.

What/where is your happy place?  Any place with water.

Julie ocean

How has this work changed you?  I tried to explain to a family member once about domestic violence and why a person would stay and she looked at me and stated that because I work at a domestic violence center I was not normal anymore. So apparently the work has changed me but I don’t see it that way. I am more knowledgeable about the issues surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault. I am more cautious with different situations like taking my dog out for a walk at night I am more aware of things around me. It’s changed my thinking, my perceptions, and how I respond to survivors. A lot of the change is just being more mindful.

What fuels you?  Emotions fuel me. Feeling the pain, shame, frustration, etc of my clients. Seeing them shake and cry or just trying to be brave fuels me to move forward in this job and to continue helping in any way I can. It fills me with anger sometimes but I also get inspired and that gives me the fuel to move forward. On a positive note when clients tell me they feel better, when I get a hug, when I play with kids at the shelter that fuels me to move forward as well.


What’s the best advice you were given about your work?  Self care, self care, self care.

What’s in your office?  Water pictures surround me on the walls and the desk in my office. I have a Buddha board and Zen garden on my desk as well. My computer which has my pictures of home, family, and pets. Paperwork. Several books.

What is your shelter/refuge?  My shelter is my coworkers, friends, family, and dog. My apartment with the view of the pool, the trails at my apartment complex where I walk my dog, the lakes at the apartment complex. Anywhere with water. My apartment complex that feels more like a resort then an apartment. The river view which is just a mile for my apartment. My home back in Michigan with my family and friends. Florida where I take vacations.

disney julie

What gives you courage?  My family, friends, coworkers. Myself.

How would your BFF describe you?  Too nice for my own good.

What do you want the world to know about your work?  I want them to know that this work is here because many millions of people have experienced domestic violence and it is a universal problem that everyone needs to get involved with. I want everyone to gain knowledge and learn how they can help and not hinder a person suffering from domestic violence and sexual assault. I would like to reduce re-victimization such as blaming the victim and that begins by people gaining more knowledge about the problem.

Meet other Brave Hearts like Julie at 31 Days of Brave Hearts.


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