“… When I would do good, evil is present with me.” -Romans 7:21 kjv
I first became aware of Cyntoia Brown’s story a few years ago, while watching a series of documentaries on YouTube. I was shocked by the entire story. I was mostly shocked at the sentence that she received.
Cyntoia Brown was a sixteen year old girl who’d experienced a life full of hardship since conception. She was born to a teenaged mother who drank during her pregnancy, and used drugs after her birth. Cyntoia’s birth mother also suffered from mental illness, which had been genetically passed down for at least three generations. At eight months old, Cyntoia’s mother gave her up for adoption. Cyntoia lived with relatives and family friends for the first three years of her life; even being kidnapped at one time by relative. Needless to say, Cyntoia developed some abandonment issues as well as trust issues. Cyntoia was raised by Ellenette Brown, a family friend. And while things seemed picture-perfect on the outside, that was not the case. Cyntoia claimed that she was being physically abused by her adoptive father.
At the age of sixteen, Cyntoia ran away from home. She was exploited and trafficked for sex by a pimp named “Kut throat” for three weeks, before he told her that she needed to go make some money. Cyntoia went to a part of the city, known for prostitution, where she met a forty-three year old man. This man offered her (a girl- twenty-seven years younger than him) $150 dollars for sex. Cyntoia, young, desperate, and afraid agreed. She got in his car and went to his house. He told her about all of the guns he owned, and how well of a shooter he was. As Cyntoia recalls, the man became aggressive during the transaction. When he reached over to grab something, Cyntoia, feared for safety and grabbed a near-by gun and shot and killed the man. Afraid to go back to Kut throat empty-handed she stole, the man’s wallet.
These are the events that led to a sixteen year old girl being tried as an adult and convicted of 1st degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and aggravated robbery.
My heart completely broke while watching this documentary. Imagine my shock while scrolling through my Instagram feed the other day, I noticed Rihanna sharing a post about Cyntoia. I’m so happy that once again, someone is giving a voice to Cyntoia. She didn’t let a failed system take away her life, though it took away her freedom. She studied and received her degree while in prison. She is still fighting for her freedom and now few celebs have joined her. It is my hope that Cyntoia will be freed from prison, not at age 69, but in the near future. It is also my hope that the justice system in America will never again criminalize a victim. It is absolutely incredible to me how many times the system failed this girl: at birth, throughout her childhood, then in her adolescence.
To learn more about Cyntoia Brown’s story go here.