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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Shelley

In memory of Kurt

My younger brother was 17 when he and a few friends decided to ditch school and go to a friend’s house. There was a young girl there in junior high school who was excused from school that day by the homeowner, who was not her mother. She was there to babysit the homeowner’s 2-year-old son. The homeowner had a collection of guns in an unlocked gun cabinet. The homeowner was not there when my brother and friends got to the house. The babysitter joined my brother and his friends in a bedroom. There were no drugs or alcohol in the house. Babysitter was sitting on a mattress on the floor directly across from where my brother was sitting in a chair. She was playing with the gun, which apparently was loaded, but no one knew. She “jokingly” pointed it at my brother, at which point he told her to quit pointing it, and told her to give him the gun as he was going to put it away. As she was giving him the gun, he took it by the handle and it went off, shooting her in the chest and killing her. He was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. He was found not guilty.

His life was never the same afterwards. He and my mom were harassed by the girl’s parents, and the girl’s father waited everyday at the bus stop for my mom to get off after she was done with work and would harass her. My brother quit school and became addicted to alcohol and drugs for the remainder of his life and continued to receive death threats on and off for the rest of his life by the young girl’s friends and family members. He died alone before telling me he was tired of trying to live with all that happened.

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