Open Letter to the Prosecutors #15

CW Domestic Violence

Dear Mr. Watkins,

I am writing to you today regarding Bresha Meadows. I plead with you to free Bresha and dismiss the charges against her.

I write tonight having a deep understanding of the impact of domestic violence. You see, Mr. Watkins, domestic violence has affected my own family for over four decades now. When my brother was just a boy, he witnessed the abuse my mother experienced almost daily at the hands of my father and was himself abused. While my mother managed to escape this situation when I was only a few months old, insulating me from ever knowing what life is like with daily violence, she could not protect us from the long-term impact of it all. The regular violence ravaged my family. My brother suffers from severe mental illness, which is no doubt associated with the violence he witnessed for much of his childhood. His sickness marked my own childhood and it is a daily reminder to my mother of how the abuse she endured has hurt her children. Her scars were not merely physical; they are emotional and psychological, and they endure. Her pain didn’t end the day she left; it continues even today as she deals with how damaged her son is. I know that when my brother thinks back to this time, if he could have ended the abuse himself, he would have. And I wouldn’t blame him.

When I think about Bresha, I think about my own brother. The situation sounds so familiar: a child experiencing daily abuse and feeling helpless. The difference is that Bresha was forced into a position my brother has never known because my mother escaped. This was not the case in her household–the had no out. A restraining order filed by Brandi could not protect her family. Multiple hospital visits did not introduce the appropriate supports to save this family. Brandi and her children, including Bresha, were victimized until Bresha had no choice but to act. She intervened to save her family when it seemed nothing else worked. To call this anything but self-defense would be a grave injustice. It would continue the cycle of trauma that Bresha knows all too intimately. Just when she thought she was free, the system has picked up where her father left off to continue the dominance, control and trauma.

The system already failed Bresha when they failed to protect her family from the abuse of her father. Let’s not fail her yet again by detaining her for an act of self-defense. Let’s do justice to Bresha’s story and give this young girl a chance at life. Let’s free Bresha.

I hope you sincerely consider this plea.

Best,
Lisa
New York

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