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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Leah

One Sunday evening about four years ago, I was home with my two young children while my husband was at work, and I was worried because my heart was noticeably beating irregularly. When my husband got home, he insisted that I go to the ER to have it checked out.

In the hospital, while I was in the middle of some tests, I became aware of a situation just on the other side of my curtain. I could only see a little bit though the crack in the curtain, but I could hear very clearly that an upset man had a gun and was making threats on the staff and patients in the ER. At first I froze, not really believing what was happening, but then I took cover behind my bed. Fearing for my life, I texted my husband that I loved him and the kids. Shortly after, I heard several gunshots, unsure what was actually happening or what would happen next. I soon realized that the gunman himself was killed just a few feet away from me. Thankfully, no one else was injured, though I still mourned the tragic end of his life and what could have possibly brought him to the conclusion that a gun would help his situation that night.

I entered the hospital that night anxious about my heartbeat. I left anxious about everything. For a long time, I was afraid to leave my house. I did not feel safe anywhere, and was often paranoid that anyone might pull a gun out at any given moment. I’m doing better now, though I do still make a mental note of exits and hiding places in any room I enter, and I often abandon my errands when I sense people getting upset in public, not trusting where the situation could lead.

Two years later I discovered Moms Demand Action, and though at first talking about gun violence was difficult, it has really helped my healing process to be a part of the solution to prevent gun violence.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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