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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Tonya McKenzie

Tonya McKenzie

Schoolhouse Rock…

As I sat on a Saturday morning with the son of my mother’s boyfriend watching Schoolhouse Rock and Saturday morning cartoons, there was a knock at the door. I yelled for my mom to come and open the front door. In a matter of seconds, the men at the door bullied their way in the house, past my mother, and into her bedroom. There was yelling and crying and soon afterward, shots. Gunshots! More gunshots. The men rushed out of the house. Right afterward, my mother tried to come towards me but fell to the floor right before she reached the couch. She was shot. There were puddles of blood on the green carpet. Her boyfriend never emerged from the room.

I can still smell the scent of the burned flesh. After the ambulance came and took my mother away, I didn’t see her for weeks. I thought she was dead. When we were reunited in the Federal Witness Protection program, she revealed to me that she was pregnant when she was shot. The shooter was her uncle, my great uncle. I was 5 years old.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.

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