At only 14 years old, Bresha Meadows is currently sitting in Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center facing a charge of aggravated murder. The victim? Her allegedly abusive father, who Meadows shot in the head with the same gun she claims he threatened to kill her mother and entire family with.
The incident occurred on June 28, after Meadows had repeatedly run away from home multiple with claims that her father habitually beat her mother – sometimes to the point of losing consciousness. Now, in the middle of a situation that’s taken yet another ugly turn, the opportunity for a discussion on the effects of abusive relationships on everyone involved.
“I am so sorry she had to go through this,” said Brandi Meadows, Bresha’s mother, to FOX 8 Cleveland. “She is my hero. She helped me; she helped all of us so we could have a better life.”
Meadows’ aunt, Sherri Latessa, spoke with WKBN about what she witnessed in her niece’s life. She took time to note that Bresha did exactly what she was supposed to do, by reporting her father’s abuse, and was left helpless when no action was taken.
“They’ve all been through it, and nobody in that county would help, that we called, would do anything,” Latessa said. “She told on him, and nobody would do anything. She did what supposed to do, and nobody helped her.”
Records show that Brandi filed a civil domestic violence protection order against her husband, Jonathan Meadows, 41, in 2011 citing multiple instances where abuse was present in their relationship. Unfortunately, charges were later dropped and the two decided to try and mend their relationship.
“In the 17 years of our marriage, he has cut me, broke my ribs, fingers, the blood vessels in my hand, my mouth, blackened my eyes. I believe my nose was broken,” Meadows wrote in the statement. “If he finds us, I am 100 percent sure he will kill me and the children … My life is like living in a box he created for me, and if I stepped out of that box, he’s there to put me back in that box.”
The discussion will soon transition from explaining the what and identifying the how. How did growing up around this abusive relationship affect Bresha and her siblings? How did this upbringing play a role in the events that transpired during the early morning hours of July 28?
“She watched her father punch, kick, and stomp her mother,” said Ian Friedman, Bresha’s attorney, according to the Huffington Post. “That, in and of itself, is traumatic. The kids witnessed their father’s drinking and drug use lead to escalated beatings that would, at times, end with their mother being unconscious.”
In many ways, the results of Bresha Meadows’ situation resembles many other instances when abused children lash out against their abusive parents, according to Kathleen Heide, a professor at the University of South Florida.
“The youth often feels trapped and helpless,” she said. “They’ve gone to other people for help, they’ve tried to run away, they’ve tried to remedy the situation and failed, and they feel like there is no way out except to kill the abuser.”
Bresha isn’t scheduled to appear in court until Aug. 30 for a pretrial hearing. Until then, her family has begun a GoFundMe campaign to support her and her legal fees.
Photo Credit: GoFundMe