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

I am a survivor of the mass shooting in the Oregon District in Dayton, Ohio.

My friends and I decided to meet up at the bar. We were having a great night and decided to stop at the diner. We left, got food and ate at a large planter in front of the bar. My friend snapped a photo of me eating some hash browns at 1:04 a.m. Seconds later, the door guy of the bar came up and told us that we could take our food inside. Gunshots started going off. 1:05 a.m. I remember thinking “these don’t sound like fireworks,” but my brain and my body weren’t making the connection. I just sat there.

Alayna noticed that I wasn’t moving and screamed “Rachel, RUN!”

As soon as the words came out of her mouth, I knew. I ran inside of the bar. I looked around and realized that neither of my friends were around me. I immediately started sobbing and screaming that I couldn’t find my friends. I ran into my friend Brook, and I just kept repeating “where is Alayna?” My brain told me that they were outside and hurt, or worse.

I turned around and saw Drake standing over Alayna, sitting in a chair. She was shot in the leg. I ran over, part relieved that they were both alive and horrified she was shot. She went to the hospital. I saw bodies and sheets all over the place.I got home and didn’t sleep.

The news had been playing security footage of my friends and me running for our lives over and over. I watched it 15 times before realizing that it was us. I was so close to being shot when my friend was shot. I was kneeling at the planter; she stood directly behind me and told me to run. Seconds later, she was shot in the leg. If she hadn’t said that to me, that bullet would have hit me, and I probably wouldn’t have survived.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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