Dear Dennis Watkins and Stanley Elkins,
I have not been able to stop thinking about Bresha Meadows since I learned of her case. The injustice of her incarceration is overwhelming. Bresha is a child who faced a decision that no person should ever have to face. She knew that her mother’s life was in danger. She knew that she and her siblings were in danger. After living through years of her father’s horrific abuse, Bresha was desperate to find a way to protect her family and herself. Had Bresha not taken action, it is very likely that her mother, her siblings, and she would not be alive today.
As a child who did not feel safe in her own home, Bresha did what adults tell children to do when they are in danger. She reached out for help. She turned to a loving family member who was powerless to protect Bresha. The police did not help her. Child Protective Services offered no protection. The education system did not provide safety. How many adults knew about Bresha’s situation? How many people knew that she was desperate for help? Yet nobody came to Bresha’s defense. She repeatedly was sent home to fend for herself.
Only after all of those pleas for assistance did Bresha make the desperate decision to save her life and the lives of her family. And only now has the state chosen to respond to her. But rather than offer support and resources to try to heal from the trauma she has experienced, the state is punishing Bresha. By pressing charges against her, the state is telling Bresha that her life is not valuable and that she should have passively endured the violence her father inflicted on her family. This is the same message that domestic violence survivors hear from their abusers. Prosecuting and incarcerating Bresha replicates her father’s abuse. Like domestic violence, incarcerating young people harms their mental health, subjects them to physical violence, negatively impacts their educational development, and isolates them from family and friends.
By her next court date on October 6th, Bresha will have spent 70 days locked up. That is 70 days away from her family, living alone in fear, confusion, uncertainty, and vulnerability. No child deserves this treatment. No domestic violence survivor should face this response for saving their life.
You have the power to drop all charges against Bresha. I implore you to do so. Returning Bresha to her family is a critical first step toward repairing the harm she and her family have survived. You have an opportunity to begin to correct this overwhelming injustice. Please set Bresha free.