by Jessica Lane
November 22, 2017
Photo by Instagram, @badgalriri
This is the face of a 16-year-old little girl who faced unimaginable things. Cyntoia Brown grew up in a home where, according to her testimony, getting beat, choked and raped was a regular occurrence. Then, a 43-year-old realtor Johnny Mitchell Allen took her home and paid to have sex with her. She shot him and the Tenessee courts sentenced a 16-year-old to life in prison for murder and prostitution.
Celebrities, Black Twitter and anyone with a pulse have started to cry out at this injustice and shed light on her story. Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, T.I., Rev. Al Sharpton and many more have been sharing this post detailing her story and how she got imprisoned.
did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way?? cause….. Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life! To each of you responsible for this child’s sentence I hope to God you don’t have children, because this could be your daughter being punished for punishing already! #FREECYNTOIABROWN #HowManyMore
The hardest part to comprehend, this is not even a new story.
Brown is now 29 years old. Her trial took place in 2004 and she has spent almost 13 years behind bars. Her case found new light in 2011 when filmmaker Daniel Birman debuted his documentary Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story which shared her story and the history of abuse she faced. His documentary sparked a conversation to change Tennessee laws that allowed convicting children of first-degree murder and forcing them into lengthy prison sentences.
Even sadder yet, Brown has completely turned her life around. She’s earned her associate’s degree, she mentors other girls in prison and consults (unpaid) for the Juvenile Justice system. If she were charged today, there would be no prostitution charges for a 16-year-old. She would be the victim of sex-trafficking.