The most painful memories of my childhood include those of my father hitting my mother. Like my mother, my sisters experienced domestic violence. Most of them escaped it, except for Janie.
Janie was 10 years old when she met her future husband. We knew his family because they were migrant farmworkers, like us. They married young. Domestic violence overshadowed their relationship, including two incidents where a gun was involved. Eventually, my sister got a protection order against her husband, but the order didn’t protect her.
The day she was murdered, Janie allowed her husband to visit their home because he had asked to bring their son a birthday present. Her husband didn’t have a gift when he got there. Instead, he had a gun.
Moments before he murdered my sister, her husband told their son to go back into the house, kissed him on forehead and told him, “I love you, mi hijo (my son).” He then pulled out his gun and chased Janie around his car. He caught her and shot her in the heart. She died there on the sidewalk. She died in fear. She was only 30 years old.
I fight for Janie.