#FreeCyntoiaBrown. This simple hashtag has gone viral through posts tagged by A-list celebrities and the contentious issue itself. 29-year-old Cyntoia Brown has been sentenced to a life in prison after killing 43 year old Nashville man, Johnny Allen. Brown lived a childhood of physical and emotional abuse, drugs, rape, and forced prostitution by a pimp nicknamed “Kut-Throat”.
The memories of her past led to her killing one of her abusers in self-defense, for which she was given a life sentence. She was purchased as a prostitute by Johnny Allen, who took Brown to his house to use her for sex, and after years of being held captive, she finally had the courage to fight back and shoot him.
After this incident, Brown was taken to court where she was charged as an adult, despite being only 16 years old. Had she been charged as a minor, she would be released at 19 years old. According to Filmmaker Dan Birman, if Brown were to be arrested today rather than in 2004, the outcome would be different: she would not be charged as a prostitute, but charged as a young girl who was involved in sex trafficking. Birman also stated that even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that mandatory life sentences for juveniles without the possibility of parole is unlawful, Brown is not getting justice as this decision is not being applied to her.
Although this event occurred years ago, the issue is returning to the spotlight as women are now feeling obliged to step forward about sexual abuse, such as celebrities Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Snoop Dogg, and Kim Kardashian, who is getting her attorneys to see what they can do to help Cyntoia Brown get justice.
Recently, University of Memphis Professor Steve Mulroy told People magazine that Brown could have her life sentence reversed and that she is a good candidate for early release.
The national focus of freeing Cyntoia Brown and giving her justice has caused the nation to rally behind her to support her case and bring more awareness to this issue in general as these cases can occur in the future for other young girls as well. #FREECYNTOIABROWN