Facing Trauma with Steadfast Faith

 

Say Hello to Annaliese!  

She has been blogging at Southern Belle in Training for over five years! Her blog focuses primarily on affordable fashion and style, but she also enjoys writing about beauty, travel, millennial lifestyle topics, and her Christian faith. In addition to blogging, Annaliese works full-time in broadcasting as an on-air radio personality, and also enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling.                          

In April 2016, two weeks before graduating college, Annaliese was the victim of a (non-sexual) crime. After much prayer and reflection, she decided to move forward and pursue legal action. In October 2016, almost six months later, the case finished.

 

Guest Blog Q&A:

 

Witlee: Tell me about how you came to have a relationship with Christ?

Annaliese: I grew up attending church with my mom, but didn’t really accept Christ until a middle school youth retreat that I attended in 6th grade! It’s funny looking back – I actually got sick during the retreat weekend and came home feeling physically terrible, but I also came home spiritually forever changed!

 Witlee: You experienced a trauma, and I know you can’t go into it, but how does one keep the faith when the unthinkable happens?

 

Annaliese: When you experience a trauma or the unexpected, that is when the time comes in a person’s life where they have to decide if the faith that they claim to believe in is really “real” for them. I knew instantly that I would never blame God for the crime that I was a victim of, and then legal situation that I found myself apart of. To me… even though I was going through some very hard and emotional trials, it just wasn’t an option to abandon my faith. I knew in my soul that He would carry me through. That doesn’t mean that it would be an easy ride or that there wouldn’t be tears and sleepless nights, but I knew He was there and He felt my pain.

 

Witlee: What has the healing process been like for you?

 

Annaliese: I went to counseling for the months during the court process and a few months after, which was helpful not only to the situation, but also helped me to learn things about myself! I think there does come a point for a victim of a crime when there’s only so much work that can be done in counseling related to the situation (if that makes sense?), but initially speaking it was so helpful! And only you yourself will know when that ending point is. I also sought out comfort in friendships and my parents, and I was in school at the time that my legal case was going on, and I threw myself into my education.
A blogger friend also sent me an incredible devotional called Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On by Stormie Omartian. Reading and working through this devotional during the months leading up to and in between court dates helped me SO much. This book is incredible for anyone going through a tough time!

 

Witlee: Some people would say that for evil to exist than there is no God, what would you say to them?

 

 Annalise: That’s such a tough question, Witlee! Honestly I have trouble sometimes debating with those who aren’t fellow believers. I pray sometimes that God gives me more wisdom in the future with sharing my faith with unbelievers. I suppose the simple answer is that yes, there is so much evil in the world. But there is also great beauty and modern day miracles too. We live unfortunately in a fallen world – we have to let the good outweigh the bad!

 

Witlee: What are some ways to be supportive of victims/survivors in the aftermath of a trauma and during the judicial proceedings?

 

Annaliese: I wrote a whole post about that on my own blog 🙂 *shameless self promotional plug* I’d love it if you checked out my blog post, How to Help a Friend Going Through a Legal Situation

 

Witlee: Tell me about your website/blog…Why did you start it and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

 

Annaliese:  I started my blog as a hobby during my freshman year of college! Originally it was just supposed to be something fun for me to do outside of college classes, mainly just a way to document my outfits. I had no idea back then that it was possible to monetize blogs, or even make a career out of it! Clearly my site has grown a lot in the five years that I’ve been doing it, and that is such a blessing!! I went to school for communication and journalism and I do have a full-time day job in broadcasting which I love, but I adore blogging and hope to do it for a very long time!

 

*If you would like to connect with Annaliese, you can do so either through her blog or instagram.*

 

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1,500 Days in Hiding

Today marks 1,500 days living in hiding for my safety. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been forced into hiding and silenced as a way for our justice system to continue to cover up police corruption, abuse of power, and police perpetrated violence. All while those who are in a position to hold my ex-boyfriend (corrupt cop) accountable – like the government and those who could expose this injustice like most media outlets, instead choose to continue to ignore my pleas for help. To them other victims and survivors like myself are just collateral damage and others within society will claim that telling our stories would not make a difference because they believe the issue impacts only a small few…But that is not true!

October is Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness Month  and there are so many stigmas and myths attached to DV. Society believes that these incidents of sexual, domestic, and police perpetrated violence are rare. The truth is that 1 in 4 women will become victims of intimate partner violence within their lifetime and every minute – 20 people are victims of intimate partner violence (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Those statistics are only based on the women who come forward to report the violence inflicted on them. That means this violence is even more prevalent, but it is also preventable!

I don’t want to continue living in hiding, but in order to come out of hiding my voice needs to be heard! Other victims and survivors need to have their voices heard too. Not only is it critical to preventing violence but for victims and survivors it ca be life or death…its self preservation for us. A lot of people may not be able understand what victims and survivors of violence go through because they haven’t been through it, but that does not change the fact that this is the reality for hundreds of thousands of victims and survivors around the world.

This post is not to just give my story a voice but to use my voice to more importantly give one to all the other victims and survivors of violence. Uniting with survivors everywhere to advocate and promote change for a safer world. While never forgetting the victims whose voices have forever been silenced through murder.

Every time I speak I am representing all victims and survivors of violence and that is not a responsibility I take lightly, but speaking up for others and giving them a voice is a personal mission of mine. May we all all strive to better defend, protect, and speak up for others. No one is immune from violence, and preventing it is key to keeping your loved ones safe from being its next victim.

 

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Unfortunately Domestic Violence (DV) awareness often gets overlooked by other awareness initiatives that also take place this month. With me being a survivor, I wanted to spread awareness and shed some light on this sensitive yet crucial issue.

What most don’t understand about DV is that the only weapon victims and survivors have as a means of defense in DV situations is their voice. Yet their voice is often the one thing being silenced. There are millions of victims of violence and some are given a platform to have their voice heard, while others have to fight every day and even for years to be heard.

Those who are given a platform to share their story of trauma should never take that platform they have been given for granted because its an outlet, a tool other victims will never get the chance to have; yet desperately are in need of in order to overcome and survive their violence and trauma. For some victims of violence having their voice heard is a matter of life or death for them!

So below are five ways you can spread domestic violence awareness, not just this month but through out the year.

1.) Share their Story via Social Media: Empower victims/survivors by giving a voice to their story and giving them a platform to have their voices heard! If we aren’t willing to talk about violence, we won’t be able to stop it! Social Media is the biggest outlet to get the news out there, stories shared, and to expose injustice.

We all have social media accounts, by sharing a link of a victim/survivors story you are promoting peace and standing up to violence. You are helping a victim/ survivor have a voice and for those in hiding, like myself its one step closer to being able to come out of hiding. Also sharing via social media takes a way power form the offender/perpetrator by bringing darkness to light – which has the power to stop that offender/perpetaror from victimizing again. Join with me in taking a stand against violence and spread awareness by sharing the inspiring stories of victims/survivors and helping them to have their voices heard!

2.) Community Support & Acceptance: This even extends to churches. I am a Christian but I was told that because of the trauma I suffered, that God could not use me to bring glory and honor to His Kingdom and that there was not a place for me within the church because of the violence I experienced at the hands of others. None of that is even biblical! God can and will redeem every situation and use your story to make a difference making beauty from ashes.

The support of the community will not only help the victims/survivors to feel heard but will help to aid in their healing and their ability to overcome what they have endured. Also with the support of the community, that will  speak volumes to the offenders/perpetrators that their actions are not acceptable and that the community does not condone violence nor will they stand by and allow it to continue. When people do not take a side, their silence is siding with the offenders/perpetrators allowing them to continue to victims others.

3.) Listen Before You Give Your Opinion: People are usually quick to give their opinion regarding a situation they have neither walked nor that they really understand or can comprehend. Even though it may seem like an unfathomable event, that does not mean it didn’t happen. Also if the traumatic event is too intense for you to wrap your mind around, can you even imagine what the victim/survivor may be going through?!? Try to place yourself in their shoes and to try to understand what life after trauma might be like for them.

Please listen to them and hear them out, listening is huge for victims/survivors, they want to and need to be heard. Also when you respond, be sensitive. Your comments and opinions can cause further damage. Please do not minimize what they have been through. Minimization is a psychology term and a form of victimization. To tell them that they should be grateful that their situation is not worse is minimizing their trauma because in their world their situation couldn’t get any worse. They are already walking through hell and struggling every day to overcome their situation. Please think before you speak.

4.) Don’t Treat Victims/Survivors Differently: Often times victims/survivors are rejected, mistreated, and ostracized for things that had happened to them that were completely out of their control. They are often looked down on and seen as lesser or weaker and isolated by others. Please remember that you are judging a situation that you probably haven’t walked.

Show compassion instead of criticism, acceptance rather than rejection, listen before you judge, and give them a chance rather than immediately discounting them. What they have gone through does not define them, their worth, or even speak to their character…but how you treat victims and survivors does speak to your character! Would you want to be punished for something you experienced? Of course you wouldn’t so why would you further punish them, the victim/survivor for something they didn’t do but was done to them, comepletely out of their control?!? Remember violence does not discriminate, anyone can become a victim, and each one of you knows a victim/survivor whether you realize it or not. Most acts of violence go unreported and not all victims/survivors report because of fear of how they will be shamed, blamed, guilt tripped, and not believed. Also its rare that victims/survivors of domestic or sexual violence ever receive justice.

5.) Believe The Victim/Survivor: More times than not the victim/survivor is not believed (despite the evidence proving the act of violence) and they end up being blamed and shamed for violence they didn’t commit but were harmed by. To have someone believe them especially when their cruel abuser/rapist/offender/perpetrator is denying that anything even happened and calling them liars, would make a huge differenence in their healing and within the judicial process.

If more victims/survivors were believed the offenders/perpetrators would be legally and criminally held accountable and less likely to further victimize others. You may think you are immune to violence, but violence is happening all around us. You could be next, but holding the offender/perpetrator responsible is a preventative measure in thwarting violence. Let’s stand together and unit against violence.

 

 

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Live Each Day With Purpose…

Welcome to “Live Each Day With Purpose”! The “purpose” of this website and blog is to educate and spread awareness on many controversial issues that impact our health & well being, safety, liberty, justice, and life.

A little bit about me, I’m a Speaker and an Advocate (go to my Bio to learn more) and I do what I do to give  a voice to your stories and the injustices happening in this world. This blog will be real and transparent, but in order for us to see change surrounding these issues, we have to first start talking about them.

More importantly, this website and blog is all about the importance on how to “Live Each Day With Purpose” and on here I will share just how to do that.

So here are some things to know…

1. Every Week, I will post a new blog.

–I have some great blog posts that are set to be posted within the next few weeks, including some collaboration posts. I hope these blog posts will encourage and inspire you.

2. Resources Page.

–This page will be added at a later date with information about organizations that are doing some amazing work and whose work either has ties/aligns with my ministry and this website/blog, or who I have personally worked with and/or collaborated with in some capacity.

3. Contact info.

–To contact me to either book me for a speaking engagement, interview,  or to connect with me for resources, tell me your story, etc, go here.

4. Video Series.

I started a video series on various topics through my twitter account and those video series’ will continue via this website.

 

I look forward to hearing from you!

~~Witlee Ethan~~

“‘Making a difference one day, one life at a time”!

 

© Copyright 2017 Witlee Ethan - All Rights Reserved

 

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