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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Liz Russell

The morning of March 9, 2018, changed my life forever. It is the morning that a former resident of the post-9/11 veterans treatment program I worked for came back to our program building, knowing we would be gathered together for a staff going away party, while strapped with an assault rifle and a shotgun. I believed I would die that day, in a room with my coworkers, one of whom was a longtime family friend and six months pregnant at the time.

The gunman methodically released us, program residents first, followed by staff member names he called one by one. Being given the chance to live while leaving my friend and coworkers behind is the hardest thing I have ever done. Ultimately, the gunman would murder three of my colleagues before turning the gun on himself. I still deal with the effects of that day today, but I have moved to action. I honor their lives by advocating for common sense gun violence prevention measures.

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