This is not okay

Cyntoia Brown is currently in prison.

She’s a former teenage runaway who was forced into prostitution, and she was a victim of forced prostitution (rape) that happened while she was a minor (statutory rape). Then more than a decade ago, while in her 20s, she was sentenced to life in prison for shooting and killing a man who tried to pay her for sex. How did it get there? Long story. Let’s get started.

After a childhood marked by abuse and drugs, she ran away. Some guy picked her up when she was twelve and forced her into prostitution while acting as her pimp. Totally legal and sane, right? Four years into this, around 2004, she got sold to a guy who choked and beat her frequently. After he raped her he started to reach for his gun. She believed he was going to kill her, so she killed him with it. She was 16.

Despite her age, she was tried as an adult and given a life sentence. What happened to self-defense?

This story caught the attention of A-list celebrities who then spawned the viral hashtag #FreeCyntoiaBrown. Please spread this around.

Despite changes in sex trafficking laws since then, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled last week that Brown must still stay behind bars for at least 51 years. This isn’t fair; it isn’t right. I’m thirteen years old and I know people who have been raped. I know what it does to someone, and Cyntoia has had it rough. She deserves a break, and her governor can let her out if he wants to. Gov. Haslam has the power to Free Cyntoia. Every day she remains in prison, he is actively choosing not to.

Here’s his email: vbill.haslam@state.tn.us

Please do email him. We can fix this as a people, but only if we urge him to let her go. Help her get out. Even if charged with voluntary manslaughter, ten years in jail is long enough. But she was a minor and this was self-defense. Help this be just, because what happened to this girl isn’t justice, and it never will be, no matter which way you look at it.