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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Giovanna Rodriguez

For years, I went to bed not knowing if I would live to see the next day, or if that next day would be my last. I endured constant physical and emotional abuse and unrelenting verbal attacks against me and my children. My abuser had guns everywhere; in the car; on the dining table like a centerpiece. It was a constant reminder he could kill me at any moment, and my sons would be left without a mother. And what terrified me most is the fear I would die at the hands of an abuser and my children would be next when I was no longer there to protect them.

For me, there are many ordinary moments that have taken on new meaning. One of those moments is when I come home with fresh flower arrangements to adorn a table, but often times I still picture a gun beside the vase.

I will continue to speak out, fight for change and make flowers the only centerpiece.

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