By Jueseppi B.
Daughter Speaks Out After Years of Gun Threats from Father
By Moms Demand Action & Ms. Kathleen (Last name withheld by request)
How do you get over gun violence? The answer is you never do. It is always there haunting you, disturbing your dreams, creeping into your life, slowly but surely it overtakes you, until you start fighting back.
On a bitter cold February evening, when I was 13 years old, I was watching Dynasty on the television. This was interrupted by a knock at the door. It was my father, who sounded drunk and angry. My parents had recently separated, and my father, a NYC cop and a supposed “good guy,” frequently had a gun at his side.
I was a little scared to open the door but when he ordered me to, I listened. He came into the house with much rage and a cold, blank look in his eyes. He did not hug me and tell me he missed me, he instead held a loaded .38 revolver to my head and asked me if I wanted to die first.
He then pulled the gun away from my head and asked me where my mother was. My sister was in the hallway, trying to protect her. My other sister climbed out of her bedroom window with her boyfriend, and ran to a neighbor’s house to call 911. I did not know that at the time, I was just in the moment, frozen and scared to death.
I then ran into another room, and soon after ran barefoot through the snow to another neighbor’s house. I left my family to die, and to this day I feel guilty for what I did. My neighbor was a police officer too and went to my house to try to calm my father down. I had no idea if everyone was okay or not. I just stood there frozen and feeling very alone, though I was being comforted by my neighbor’s wife.
Fortunately no one died that day, and despite the many tumultuous years and threats of gun violence, we survived. But part of me died that day, and has never been the same since. My life has been a constant struggle to fit in, to feel normal, and to find serenity.
Until you have had a gun pointed at you by your father, or someone you love, or even a stranger, you cannot understand the toll it takes on your life.
Think of those you love, think of your friends and neighbors, and children, would you want this to happen to them? Statistically, if we do nothing, it very well might happen to them, or to you.
My father is no longer with us. I felt a strange mixture of sadness and happiness when he passed. I no longer hate him; I understand he had a mental illness. That illness could have easily been under control if he had sought help. I no longer fear him, I only hope he has found some peace.
Now that I have a family of my own, and have finally found happiness, I fear that gun violence will enter my life once again, especially since I live in an open carry state. I constantly hear tragic news stories, and have to silently fear for my family’s safety nearly everywhere we go.
I am glad that groups like Moms Demand Action are fighting back to make this world a safer place. I’m glad that they are honoring and paying tribute to all of those taken by senseless acts of gun violence. I’m proud to share my story with them, and I’m proud that I’m starting to bare my soul and fight back.
To all my fellow survivors of gun violence, and to all those fighting to make our nation safer for all, I wish you nothing but love and happiness., and I hope you thrive.
This poem expresses the fear I felt for so many years.
When you held the gun to my head
part of me died
But, the part that remains
is very alive
I’ve fought many battles
to try to break free
From the prison you imposed
that day onto me
But I’m still standing
though I falter at times
I have climbed many mountains
and will be just fine
For I’m a steadfast survivor
and I’m still alive
you have not broken me
I WILL BE HAPPY AND THRIVE
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of gun violence and would like to share your story with Moms Demand Action, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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