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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Trying to Heal

My entire life has been plagued by gun violence – coming from a housing project in the city, you become numb to the sound of gunshots. However I never imagined my life taking the turn it did on that night in May. I never thought I’d ever be able to say that I witnessed a murder; and it saddens me that it’s now a part of my story.

My boyfriend at the time showed signs of aggression, manipulation and controlling behaviors, but like most women, I ignored them. Although they were so clear, instead I chose to paint a picture of him being someone that, deep down, I knew he wasn’t. I watched as the disagreements with him and my previous boyfriend, who is also the father of my child, grew more intense, and I pleaded that they handle themselves as grown men and talk it out rather than resort to violence. Painting a picture of what I thought could happen, instead of the reality.

Two angry, egotistical men. I remember it like it like yesterday. I watched him walk into the street, gun in hand, as my ex appeared from the passenger side of the car – caught like a deer in headlights, not expecting to see a loaded gun pointed at him. Shots rang out one after the other. I was frozen in my steps, blacked out to the events taking place in front of me. Then the cop lights flashed. The words of the officer saying “he’s dead” pierced my soul. My heart dropped to my foot.

I thought for sure my ex was dead, and I began to weep uncontrollably. I was even more heartbroken to learn that it was his innocent friend, who was simply giving him a ride out of the kindness of his heart. A young man who never knew what he was walking into. A man just being a good friend. All because I chose to involve myself with another angry man! I left one abusive relationship and ended up in another. They were in a pissing match to see who was the baddest, the toughest! Which led to a man I never even got to meet, never even got to wave to, dead, and my ex in jail for life, while I battle with the scars.

The sleepless nights I have about the shooting and the trial. I can’t explain the judgement that I fear from others. I want to hide from anyone that knows what happened. I hate that the coward chose a gun instead of leaving has changed me forever. How do I let the pain go? The life of the party, now a caged bird. I should have left when he choked me that night, but I can’t blame myself. But I am ready to speak now, ready to use my pain to help someone. Ladies, violence is never okay when a man shows you what he’s capable of and who he is. BELIEVE HIM!

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