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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Shawna A.

As a 19-year-old college student, I was working at the overnight shift at a drive-through window at a Taco Bell in one of the safest little towns in Northern California. A man walked up in the darkness, pointed a gun at my head and fired before I had a chance to react. The glass shattered around me as I fell to the floor and frantically started feeling around my body to stop the blood that I knew was gushing from somewhere.

The police later determined he missed me by just a few millimeters, based on where I was standing and where the bullet entered the wall behind me. I was so traumatized by being targeted for a random murder that I left college several weeks later and went back home to Los Angeles to live with my mom for a few years.

I had a 4.0 GPA before this incident, and many dreams of greatness and prosperity had filled my head before that terrible night. To this day I fight to ignore the four scars on my palms from the glass that landed on top of when I dropped to my knees.

I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I can’t seem to move on from this incident…I’m alive, yes, but I’m not living.

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