The Viral Unfair Case of Cyntoia Brown

by Camille A-G on November 26, 2017 - 7:04pm

The case of Cyntoia Brown became viral this week. She is a woman who has been in jail for 10 years after murdering Johnny Mitchell Allan, a man who abused her and forced her into prostitution. In her article for CNN, AJ Willingham discusses the newly viral subject.

 
Cyntoia Brown is a 29-year-old woman who has had a rough past, suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, growing up in an abusive home and running away from her adoptive parents. She was involved with drugs and alcohol and met ‘’Cut Throat’’, a then 24-year-old man who sexually and physically abused her, as well as forcing her into prostitution. 
 
On August 7, 2004, 43-year-old Johnny Mitchell solicited Cyntoia, then 16, for sex. After driving her back to his house, Brown found a gun and, in fear of the man who kept soliciting her for sex, she shot him dead as an act of self-defense.
 
Despite being so young at the time, Cyntoia was tried as an adult and was given a life-sentence for the murder of her abuser. She will only be eligible for parole at the age of 69 years old.
 
Earlier this week, her case resurfaced and became viral as celebrities have shared her story, being shocked over Brown’s terrible fate and their disagreement over the choice made in trial. The popular singer Rihanna posted Cyntoia’s story on her Instagram account, saying:
 
‘’Imagine at the age of 16 being sex-trafficked by a pimp named ‘’cut-throat.’’ After days of being repeatedly drugged and raped by different men you were purchased by a 43 year old child predator who took you to his home to use you for sex. You end up finding enough courage to fight back and shoot and kill him. [You’re] arrested as [a] result, tried and convicted as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. This is the story of Cyntoia Brown. She will be eligible for parole when she is 69 years old.’’
 
Her story affected other celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevigne, and many said that her treatment was exaggerately severe for a young girl being raped and forced into prostitution. Many believe that her act was of self-defense, and cannot believe the Supreme Court’s decision. 
 
Though, on the other side, the prosecution at court argued that her act was not of self-defense, as she took her victim’s wallet after shooting him, therefore she was tried as an adult and convicted of first degree felony murder and aggravated robbery. 
 
I personally agree with the many celebrities who have shown disagreement over the fate of Cyntoia Brown. Equality is one of my most important values, therefore I completely disagree with the fact that a young girl being raped and forced into prostitution received a life sentence for protecting herself. In my opinion, this shows the sexism present in law for such cases, where women being sexually harassed are not protected. From my past experiences, as a woman, I have been in positions where I have felt opressed, have witnessed sexual harrassment and seen women not being taken seriously. The case of Cyntoia Brown disappoints me, as I can see the sexism present in her case. Because she is a woman, her act is not believed as self-defense and many only saw her as a murderer and did not acknowledge the terrible rape and prostitution forced upon her that lead her to her act. 
 
Hopefully, with the conversation rising upon the subject, the Tennessee law will change, so that such a terrible fate does not happen again.
 
Work Cited
 
Willingham, AJ. ‘’Why Cyntoia Brown, who is spending life in prison for murder, is all over social media.’’ CNN, Updated 27 Nov. 2017, http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/23/us/cyntoia-brown-social-media-murder-case-trnd/index.html. Accessed 25 November 2017.

Comments

Your topic is really interesting. I did not hear about this story despite listening the news once in a while. I don't understand why this story hasn't made more noise.
With the info given in this article, the decision made by the judge is really sexist. However, I do not think that all the info about the case was given in the article because the case seems to unreal; her past and her age at the time should've tempered greatly the verdict. The understanding that I have of the situation leads me to think that it was really self-defense.
It is reassuring to see that some celebrities spoke for her and I think that this unfair trial should be investigated.
Do you think that all the information about the case was disclosed in the article?

The reason why I chose to comment on your post is because your topic is very interesting and I also like your writing style.

I agree with you that what happened to Cynthia Brown was extremely unfortunate and as a feminist I am also deeply disappointed with the decision that the Supreme Court made. However, I do understand why the Supreme Court made that decision as it was not out of sexism but out of following the law. If Cynthia Brown had only killed "cut-throat" and then decided to run away and seek for help then that would be considered self defense. But the fact that she killed the man and then took his wallet is quite confusing because why would she have taken his wallet after killing him in an act of self defense? I believe that if she had not taken his wallet afterwards then maybe she would not be jail today or could have gotten a reduced sentence. Thus, because she took his wallet that can be seen as an act of robbery,just because someone did something terrible to you does not mean that you have the right to take things from them especially after you had killed them trying to defend yourself. I hope that the Supreme Court gives her a much more reduced sentence because all though she was defending herself, I don't believe it's right for anyone to take things from other people.

Do you think that in this case, Cynthia Brown had a justifiable reason for taking his wallet after killing him?

About the author

I am studying languages in culture, a program in which I am learning Italian and Spanish. I have a passion for languages and am hoping to learn many more in the future. I also have a passion for writing, reading and film-making. I aspire to be a second language teacher.