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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Rachel Vanisi

I am a survivor of domestic abuse and gun violence. I live with the trauma every single day. R and I fell in love fast. It had only been a week of living there when he pulled out the first gun in the middle of an argument. The relationship turned physically abusive overnight. The guns were out all the time. I was a world of crisis. I stayed. I came back. Over and over. My sister gave birth to her first child, and I was crushed that I didn’t make it. The bruises on my face were so bad; I couldn’t cover them with makeup. R’s hopelessness and depression only became worse. The abuse became worse. He had premeditated plans of how he would kill himself and anyone who got in the way. I called the police three times, and the SWAT team came but once. They would leave, and they would leave the guns. Five years ago, R shot his grandma’s boyfriend in an argument and then shot himself. He carried out the exact premeditated plan we were all made aware of. R was sick. He kept his guns in his room right next to the bed.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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