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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Katie Broyles

In memory of Jennifer Young

On Jan 31, 2018, I realized I hadn’t spoken to my mom in two days. I immediately knew something was wrong, and I knew our stepdad, Bill, had something to do with it (he was emotionally abusive).

At around 2 a.m. on February 1, my sister, Becca, went to check on my mom despite my begging her not to. I told Becca to at least keep me on the phone discreetly when she went to the house. She called and I could hear her say, “I see Bill…there’s a white van out here?” Then she gasped and whispered, “Call the cops!”

I called 911 and then didn’t hear anything for two hours. Finally, a detective called me at around 5 a.m. and told me that my sister had been shot in the face twice, but she was OK and in surgery at OU medical hospital. My mom’s body was in the van in the driveway, and Bill had shot her 17 times, two days prior. My sister and her friends got there when Bill and his brother were making their escape. The police shot and killed Bill at the scene.

Becca has made a full recovery physically, but mentally, it has been very difficult. She suffers from bad PTSD and the grief of losing our mom in such a violent way is hard to put into words.

I hope that my mom’s story can be a cautionary tale of why domestic violence should be taken seriously and why we need thorough background checks for gun owners. I hope we can save lives even though we couldn’t save hers.

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