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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Anonymous

I turned 16 in July and started my first job at the mall in September. I was working on Christmas Eve and getting ready to leave the store to take a lunch break. All of the sudden shots rang out, and chaos erupted around me.

I had never heard a gunshot before. I ran to the back of the store to hide, past alarms that were blaring and customers scrambling to get to safety. I made it to the back and quickly locked myself in the restroom, along with two strangers who I didn’t even notice had followed behind me.

The store manager eventually let us know that the store was secure, and I emerged, hysterical. We proceeded to close the store, ducking beneath the cash wrap to count the deposit, while alarms blared, the shooter was still at large, and a casualty lay dead down hall.

SWAT escorted us safely out of the mall, and I spent the next 24 hours in shock, dreading going back to the mall for my next shift on the day after Christmas.

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