Frontiers 136: Dating violence: Bree's story
This week’s Frontiers program is by no means intended to be an all-encompassing look at teen dating violence. In fact, it barely scratches the surface. But I hope it will whet an appetite for more conversations about a subject that just hasn’t been on the radar screens of parents, despite Alaska’s high rate of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Here are some of the highlights from this week’s program:
- Bree’s Story: When police made an early morning call to Butch and Cindy Moore’s home to tell them their daughter Bree had been murdered by her boyfriend, Josh Almeda, they had no idea Bree had been in an abusive relationship with him.
- Talking to Teens: Butch and Cindy Moore have made it their mission to visit schools to warn them about the red flags they missed in their daughter’s relationship with a violent young man.
- Breaking the Cycle: Carmen Lowry and Jennifer Baker are passionate about the power of prevention. Lowry is director of the Alaska Network for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Baker is the Adolescent Health Project Coordinator for the State Division of Public Health.
A warning about this week’s show: Baker says it’s possible it may trigger old traumas for survivors of domestic violence. Baker also offered this list of resources for those who would like to find out more about how to prevent teen dating violence.
Also, if you’d like to find out more about Bree Moore, go to Breeslaw.org. You can download a prevention poster with information about how to get help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Bree’s parents say they’d like to spare other families the pain they’ve experienced by giving young people the tools to talk about dating violence.
They’re also pushing to have part of a new law, requiring schools to offer prevention programs in sexual assault and teen dating violence, named after Bree.
The Moores say they hope it will put a face on the crime, and they believe their daughter might be alive today if such a program had been in the schools.
After Bree’s death, some of her co-workers told the Moores they suspected she was being abused by her boyfriend but were afraid Bree would get angry with them if they confronted her or told anyone.
Butch Moore says he doesn’t blame Bree of her friends for keeping her abuse secret.
“Part of it is, Bree didn’t know what to do. And her friends didn’t know what to do,” Butch said.
Bree was only 20 when she died. Her boyfriend Josh was 22. He is serving a 75-year sentence in prison.