On July 13, 1978, a few days after my 1st birthday, my mother was shot during a fight with my father. After years of domestic violence, my mother took a shotgun out of the closet in an attempt to defend herself. My father grabbed the gun and it went off inside the home, hitting the wall above my crib. She ran out of the house and he chased her, hitting her in the back with 8 shots. Luckily, the fire department and paramedics were able to get her to the hospital where she remained for over four months, enduring multiple surgeries. She nearly died, and I went to live with my Grandma.
I was too young to remember the incident, but I grew up studying her scars and experiencing the trauma of surviving gun violence. The ripple effects of firearms in the hands of an abuser extend far beyond the intimate relationship — affecting children.
Finding out the truth formed my views on guns. They do not keep you safe. And bringing one into the home puts women at a higher risk. Her scars are my scars.