Imagine having your rights taken from you for 15 years because you finally decided to defend yourself. As you sat in jail for 15 years contemplating what you could have done differently, and the only thing that sits in your mind is; what about you made them decide to throw you away? What about the other victims just like you? Is it because you decided to stand up and fight?
Cyntoia Brown spent 15 years in jail for defending herself against a man that paid to have sex with her. Cyntoia was 16 years old when this happened. She was homeless and had nothing. She was sold into sex trafficking at a young age by Garion McGlothen, a pimp she ran to from her adoptive parents. In 2004 Johnny M. Allen paid around $150 to have sex with her. According to Cyntoia, she felt fearful of this man, shot him and fled with his money and car. Prosecutors saw this as a young African American woman who decided to rob a man and instead of having sex with him, she killed him. This is false. Cyntoia was only trying to protect herself from potential harm, and subsequently spent 15 years behind bars. That’s 5,475 days of freedom taken away from a 16-year-old girl. If it wasn’t for her supporters and people fighting her for Cyntoia’s rights, she would have served a full sentence of 51 years to life without the possibility of parole until 2055. — Through the work of her supporters, her life was on display for the world to see in a 2011 documentary, and she also gained attention from celebrities such as Rihanna and Kim Kardashian-West.
Cynthia Brown could have missed most of her life’s opportunities, or even worse, died in prison due to being tried as an adult in 2006 for first-degree murder and aggravated battery charges. She prepared to spend the rest of her life in prison.
According to the New York Times, Cyntoia earned her high school diploma, associates degree, and even started to work on her bachelor’s degree. Even with these achievements that are praised beyond prison walls, she was still determined to achieve them, even if she could never use them at their greatest or intended value.
In January of 2019, Judge Haslam was urged by supporters, colleagues, and of course Kim Kardashian-West to grant Cyntoia Brown freedom. He couldn’t refuse. Cyntoia was deemed a model prisoner and impressed everyone around her. She was what the world wanted to see from those who are incarcerated.
We may not have all walked the same walk as Cyntoia Brown, but we can relate to her. A child stuck in a horrific situation only trying to save her own life, and now trying to prove herself as a good citizen. We have found ourselves with our backs against the wall and the only way out is to show that we can overcome, and that is exactly what Cyntoia did. She made sure her voice was heard, and her story was told. She fought for her freedom, even when so many people believed she did not deserve it.