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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Ashley

This photo was taken outside my office window at Virginia Tech, days after the mass shooting. Things were beginning to be “cleaned up”, but to this day I call it “clean chaos”. There is no other way to explain it, or understand it, until it happens to you and your community. And back then, I hoped it would never happen to another community. And I was depressingly incorrect.

We watched the day unfold on April 16, 2007.

Then we watched the next twelve years in our country unfold, as time after time after time again, this happened to other places of work, schools, churches, etc., etc., etc.

I look at my photo album, called 4-16-07, every few months — sometimes as a morbid motivation to #keepgoing, sometimes as a final push to release emotions that are making my PTSD, anxiety and depression unbearable in any given moment, and sometimes to remember the feeling of that day.

32 beautiful lives were taken that day. Many more were injured — physically and non-physically. Survivors emerged.

This survivor is taking back the power this day took from her. It has been a slow and painful process, but it is happening. I will keep going. I will live for those 32 that cannot. And I will serve.

Ut Prosim, my Hokies. I am doing this for you.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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