Ten years ago I became a gun violence survivor when I stared down the barrel of a gun pointed at me by my spouse when we were in an argument. At the time, though I had been in an abusive relationship for years, I had wrongly believed he would never cross that line. Today, I still live with a little bit of extra fear – for myself and my children — but I have taken all the steps I can to regain control of those things I can in my life.
However, trusting others (especially men) and the possibility of a romantic relationship are two things that I think I will never experience in the same way again in my life. I even fear for my two daughters and their futures with men, knowing the statistics and now having been through this. I add extra locks to my doors each time we move, and check them multiple times each night before heading to bed. When I am driving around, I am constantly checking the rearview mirror to see if I may be followed. In parking lots I am always thinking of my escape plan, should I need one. I keep a grab bag at home and have planned with my kids our escape route, should we need it. These are just the realities and rituals now of my everyday life that have become normal for me.