October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Anissa Santana

I’ll never forget October 1, 2017. It was the last night of the 4th annual Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Me and my boyfriend had attended every year since it began, and it had become our favorite festival to attend. Just after 10 p.m. we heard noises, which sounded like fireworks; we quickly found out they were automatic gunshots we were hearing. With no time to think we found refuge in the bleachers and became trapped in a sea of people with nowhere to get out. Rounds upon rounds were being shot down upon us and a crowd of 22,000 people with nowhere to go and no idea what was really going on. No one could tell if people were falling from being shot or falling to take cover. I remember thinking we were all going to be trapped in the venue and become hostages. I made phone calls and text messages to family and friends that I thought were going to be my last. I ran until I couldn’t breathe and thought I was going to collapse and continued to run because this is when I realized “Am I going to die, please don’t let me die, please keep my and my boyfriend safe, please let us make it back to our families.” We were some of the fortunate ones to have gotten out physically unharmed. But the memories and PTSD I will live with for the rest of my life.

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