Dear Mr. Watkins and Mr. Elkins,
Bresha Meadows was a 14 year old girl, afraid for her and her family because of her father’s history of abuse towards her mother. Bresha simply wanted to protect her family, and she should not be incarcerated for that. Bresha doesn’t need to be punished, she (and her family) need resources to move forward and heal from years of trauma.
According to a 2006 UNICEF report, children who witness domestic violence are negatively impacted and suffer emotional and psychological trauma, including depression. In addition, many children are at an increased risk of developing behavioral issues as a result of witnessing domestic violence, including substance abuse and aggressive behavior. Although I have not witnessed or experienced domestic violence, it has impacted my family greatly. When I was a child, my uncle took his girlfriend’s life, and then his own, while their 3 year old and 1 year children were present. Before this violent ending to their lives, my uncle had been abusive towards his girlfriend. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, every day, three women are murdered by a current or former partner.
I can’t imagine what it feels like to witness violence against your parent, or even worse, the murder of one parent by another. Bresha’s life, like my cousins, has been forever changed. Please do not continue to heap more violence and trauma onto Bresha and her family by pursuing charges against her. A policy brief from the Justice Policy Institute details the negative impact of incarceration on youth’s mental and physical well-being, including poor mental health, academic challenges when they try to return to school, and increased risk of returning to jail or prison.
Drop the charges against Bresha Meadows, allowing her to experience the rest of her childhood free from violence.