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.