Boise Youth Activists Show Support for Ohio Teen Accused of Shooting Abusive Father 

click to enlarge Centennial High School junior Joe Garrett (left), who played a leading role in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Mountain Home last month, spoke Oct. 5 at an Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence demonstration in Boise.

Harrison Berry

Centennial High School junior Joe Garrett (left), who played a leading role in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Mountain Home last month, spoke Oct. 5 at an Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence demonstration in Boise.

Bresha Meadows isn't from Boise, but she's getting support here. When she was 14 years old, Meadows shot and killed her father in Ohio and was subsequently charged with aggravated murder. At a sentencing hearing scheduled for Oct. 6, a judge will determine whether the now-15-year-old girl will be charged as an adult.

Her attorney and family have called the killing an act of self defense. Bresha's father had a long history of domestic abuse, and family members had reached out to law enforcement to stop the violence. Her case has since garnered national recognition—including in Boise.

At a demonstration Oct. 5 at the Linen Building, members of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and other activists said Meadows' story is a reminder of the plight of victims.

"We need to stop criminalizing domestic violence survivors and victims," said Bukky Ogunrinola, an intern with ICASDV. 

Meadows' legal battle represents a confluence of hot-button topics including sex, race, youth, domestic violence, class and law enforcement. According to Joe Garrett—a volunteer and co-leader of a Black Lives Matter group in Mountain Home that fought to protect a piece of BLM-inspired artwork in the Mountain Home High School parking lot—what's happening to Meadows can happen anywhere in the U.S.

"Systemic oppression happens in our local, everyday lives," he said. 

According to a UNICEF report, domestic and sexual violence against youths has significant and long-range impacts on its victims, making them 15 times more likely than the national average to be victims of similar assaults later in life. It also places them at greater risk of substance abuse and criminal behaviors.

Ogunrinola said the legal system has treated Meadows like a criminal rather than a victim.

"How do we push an inclusive America when we criminalize being a girl?" she said. "We're telling youth their lives aren't worth it."
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