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Businessinsider - 29 days ago

Survivors of gun violence are sharing pictures of their injuries and crime scenes: This is our reality

Survivors of gun violence are sharing pictures of their crime scenes and injuries. They are using the hashtag #ThisIsMyLane. Doctors recently used the hashtag to share gruesome pictures in response to a tweet from the National Rifle Association telling doctors to stay in their own lane and mind their own business when it comes to gun violence. INSIDER spoke to three activists and survivors whose tweets went viral. Warning: This post contains graphic images Kate Ranta didn t hesitate to post images of her hand post-surgery.  When she uploaded the pictures and a few concise words to Twitter just before going to bed on Tuesday night under the hashtag #ThisIsMyLane, she wasn t expecting to go viral quite literally overnight, Ranta told INSIDER.  On November 2, 2012, Ranta was shot by her ex-husband. She s been an activist in the community since. Although she s told her story before, she said she s never seen it resonate online quite like it did when she posted to the #ThisIsMyLane hashtag. This is my post-surgery hand, after my ex shot me and bullet went through my hand. I thought it would be amputated. A surgeon fixed it. Shut up @NRA. #ThisISMyLane pic.twitter.com/QpP0T4KCic — Kate Ranta (@ravinranta) November 13, 2018 Bullet through my hand. Bullet through my breast. Shot by my ex. A surgeon fixed my hand. Nerve damage but it works. Doctors are on the front line. The @NRA needs to take seat for good. #ThisISMyLane pic.twitter.com/v0NMDfzQcP — Kate Ranta (@ravinranta) November 13, 2018 The hashtag, while it was originally started as a place for the medical community to come into the conversation, which we ve needed for a long time, I think my twist on it was as a survivor, this is also my lane Ranta said. This is my lane and I m staying in it because I lived it. Doctors originally used the hashtag to push back at the NRA. Initially, medical professionals were using #ThisIsMyLane to send a message to the National Rifle Association, which is the most powerful gun lobby in the country. Late Wednesday night, the NRA National Rifle Association, told doctors to stay in their lane after the American College of Physicians published a paper about policies that could reduce the number of firearm deaths and injuries in the US. Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves. https://t.co/oCR3uiLtS7 — NRA (@NRA) November 7, 2018 Hours after the tweet was published, a gunman entered a bar in California on Thursday and killed 12 people. In the midst of this, doctors pushed back against the NRA using the hashtag #ThisIsMyLane, saying that gun violence is their business — and is very much a  part of their work.  Read more: The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting has reignited a debate over whether places of worship should have armed security For reference, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 36,000 Americans were killed as a result of guns in 2015, the most recent year the organization has data for. Everytown for Gun Safety reports that 96 Americans are killed every day as a result of gun violence. Seeing this conversation resonate within the medical community and beyond, Ranta said she felt compelled to join in. I felt like this was finally the hashtag because the medical community was also sharing the gruesome photos of the things that they see when they re treating gunshot victims, she said. So I was like, Well, I m gonna show my scene because this is real this is what happened to me. This is my lane and I m staying in it because I lived it. Ranta s not the only one to post on the platform. Two of her friends and fellow activists, Rachael Joseph and Kimberly Brusk, also shared their stories on Tuesday. Brusk, the founder of Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV) who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, shared photos from when she was abused and shot by her ex in 2009.  As a survivor of domestic and gun violence I am still fighting to keep my family safe ten years and $137k later. Help keep my family safe: https://t.co/boKnaQGSQq
Survivors need direct support and services so they aren’t abused through the court system. #ThisISMyLane pic.twitter.com/vmaP4TlXtP — Kimberly Brusk (@peaceforus4ever) November 13, 2018 I and several survivor friends saw that doctors were speaking out and they often can t show our pictures without our consent. And because so many of us die, we that are living need to show the honest truth of what gun violence looks like, Brusk, who has been an activist since 2010, told INSIDER. Every opportunity that we have to do that, I think that any of us that can should I understand not being able to, but if you re able to, the country s become far too desensitized to gun violence. Also Tuesday, Rachael Joseph, the executive director of Survivors Lead which is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, shared photos of her Aunt Shelley s crime scene. My aunt Shelley was the heart of our family, Joseph wrote. She was slaughtered in a courthouse bathroom because the NRA thinks background checks at gun shows are too much trouble. #ThisIsMyLane. My aunt Shelley was the heart of our family. She was slaughtered in a courthouse bathroom because the @NRA thinks background checks at gun shows are too much trouble. #ThisIsMyLane pic.twitter.com/TwxqwD5p8B — Rachael Joseph (@titusthemutt) November 13, 2018 My aunt Shelley took care of the elderly. After her PREVENTABLE death in a courthouse shooting, a dozen elderly clients lost their “daughter” and my family lost everything. Shelley became a number in the ER. Fuck the @NRA. #ThisISMyLane #ThisIsMyLane #SurvivorStrong pic.twitter.com/ZAhTZij62m — Rachael Joseph (@titusthemutt) November 13, 2018 Like Ranta, this wasn t the first time Joseph had shared photos of her aunt s crime scene, on the internet or otherwise. In March 2018, along with other members of Survivors Lead, Joseph brought a poster of the crime scene to a Minnesota Legislature Legislative session.  We just held space in the public safety committee to let them also live with the images of their inaction. And see how this is impacting our families, she said. If we have to live with these images, so can our lawmakers. Like Joseph and Ranta, it also wasn t Brusk s first time speaking about her experience online. Although it s not always easy for her, Brusk said that speaking out is what makes a difference. I ve had to [share my story] a lot of times. Over and over again, Brusk said. You still feel like you re screaming and no one can hear you. It s maddening how often the actual survivors of gun violence are left out of the conversation. We re left out of decisions. We re left out of legislation. And we re not even at the table for debates about gun violence. Often, there s not even a survivor on a gun violence panel. In the past, Ranta said images of her injury and crime scene that she s posted on social media hadn t really seen much impact or gotten much traction. At times, she said, they ve even been deleted off platforms for being too gruesome or graphic. But she continues to post them because she wants people to bear witness to the violence that was perpetrated on her and other survivors.  It s like, you know what, this is our reality, she explained. Anyone who s been through this and survived, it s like, this happened to me and it matters. And these women aren t the only ones posting on the platform. As the hashtag continues to gain momentum, others are sharing their stories, too.  I think doctors are on the front lines and I wanted to show support for them, Brusk said. I think it was horribly disrespectful for the NRA to tell them to stay in their lane when their on the front lines in a war that the NRA is actually inflicting on the American people. Gun violence survivors are definitely on the front lines as well. Joseph agreed, saying that it s been validating to see doctors share their encounters with trauma, which is often left out of the narrative. I feel like survivors have really had to bear this alone. It s very isolating, which is why so many of us become friends, like Kate [Ranta] and I, she said. Because no one understands but each other. So to have doctors take this viral and to share the images the trauma that they re also experiencing on a daily basis is really validating. It makes us feel not so isolated. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline or call its hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member. Visit INSIDER s homepage for more.Join the conversation about this story NOW WATCH: There s an electronic spatula that will scrape all the gunk from your pores

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