CW: Domestic Violence
Dear Mr. Watkins and Mr. Elkins,
I’m writing to ask you to free Bresha Meadows, because I could have been Bresha.
I lived with a violent stepfather from age 4 to 14. I often planned what I would do if he tried to kill my mother or my sisters – I never thought about trying to save myself. I didn’t want to kill anyone at all ever, but if I had to choose between killing him and letting him kill my mother or sister, I decided I would kill him. I decided this when I was 12 years old.
I was lucky; my mother decided to leave before my stepfather hurt us permanently. After we left, I was chilled to the bone when his counselor told us that he often fantasized about breaking both my legs so that he could “take care of me.” I haven’t seen him since the day we fled the house with only the clothes on our backs 24 years ago – but last week he sent yet another letter to my apartment, to prove that he knows where I live no matter how far away I move. It’s never over.
My heart goes out to Bresha Meadows. I could have been her 24 years ago; I could have been in prison for protecting the lives of my mother and siblings. Because I got lucky, and my mother left sooner that hers, I did not go to prison and instead spent my life fighting for the rights of women and children. Bresha will suffer her entire life for making the least bad choice that she could. She did not make any of the decisions that put her in this situation. If she could have left and kept everyone safe, she would have. If she gets the support and care she deserves, she will give back to society in much the same way I have, caring for and fighting for those who need her help the most.
Please drop the charges against Bresha Meadows and release her as soon as possible. Give her the chance that I had, to grow up free and become a force for good in the world.