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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Debra Cole

I’m a grown woman now, in my 40s. However, my life changed forever when I was 5 years old. It was my older brother, age 14. He had been living with a traumatic brain injury since he was 8. He had severe depression and seizures. He didn’t get what he needed, and so he used my dad’s gun and ended it. I was with another brother and my mom when we found him on a February afternoon after a day at kindergarten.

Like a lot of men in the South, my dad had a couple of guns. He never had them displayed. He didn’t hunt, and so he never used them or really even talked about them. But my brother was in pain, and he knew where to find them. Our family changed forever. Later my parents divorced, and my father died of a heart attack when I was in high school. It was also a small town, and so everyone knew about the suicide. My parents were also emotionally unavailable and so the three surviving kids, we were on our own to deal with this monumental tragic loss. Our home was sad and isolating. I have struggled with the all the issues connected to my family. But when I joined Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America, I began to feel empowered and supported by being with people that want things to change in this country.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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