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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Rita's daughter

In memory of Rita

When I was 13 years old, my mother was shot and killed by my stepfather. She had separated from him many times before, but he always found a way to drag us back home. While she was in the hospital dealing with blood clots from what we believe may have been caused by the last time he tried to kill her (by choking), I caught him watching me bathe through an open window. She left him for the last time.

He pushed her into a van and drove off. My brother, who was 15, ran after the van and jumped in. My stepfather pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot her in the forehead. She fell back onto my brother, who then jumped out of the moving van and ran while continuing to be shot. My stepfather then parked and shot her two more times and then shot himself. He survived his injuries and went to prison for 25 years plus two for a firearm. We believe the firearm was his father’s and was not in a locked cabinet. He is now out of prison.

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