Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Shocking Cyntoia Brown Case - Free Her!

Flicking through the channels and coming across a programme on BBC Three called 'The 16 year old killer', I automatically braced myself for another case of a long time bullied teenager, carrying firearms into his local school and engaging in a shooting spree. So it caused me to raise an eyebrow or two, when I was faced with a documentary on a young female, who whilst working as a prostitute killed a man in self defence.

Cyntoia's Brown initial life choices didn't come as a surprise. She was abandoned at an early age by her mother and grandmother, who both dealt with drug and alcohol abuse and had a disturbing history of extreme suicidal behaviours. Even when she was eventually adopted, she decided to appoint herself onto a life on the streets abusing drugs and being forced to have sex with men, by a 24 year old robber and drug dealer, aptly named 'Cut-throat'. She would make him great money and in return he would threaten to kill her if she left. It was one fateful day when she was ordered to go home with a middle aged real estate agent - Johnny Allen. It was there, she witnessed Allen reaching for a gun, when she shot him first in a form of self defence. She was tried as an adult and at 18 was sentenced to life in prison.

Her 16 years of life are an astounding factual realization that there are children who are growing up way too fast and fall through the cracks of the justice system. Every child has the right to feel safe and looked after.
Her adoptive mother made a remarkable discovery to her own actions when she mentioned- 'Where was I when all this was happening?' makes you wonder what the point of adoption is.

The fact that this girl was being tried as an adult made me absolutely furious. She was 16 years old when she YES -killed someone. However, justifying it as murder is arrestingly exceptional, when all her life she was a by-product of abuse. For a girl who went through so much in life, it was easy for her to follow the same suicidal patterns as her predecessors. When she thought Allen was reaching for a gun, what stopped her from allowing him to kill her? She was covertly a wise girl and even though through the initial forensic psychiatric testing she seemed monotonous, she still had spirit left in her. She wanted to live. I also felt that the justice system failed to link Cyntoia's supposed 'mood swings' to the typical behaviour of adolescents. Using 'mood swings' as evidence against her as a cold blooded killer is absurd. She may have personality problems after everything she went through but building it up and referring to it as 'split personality disorder', was a step too far.

Plus lets not forget...what on earth was 46 year old Allen doing with a 16 year old anyways??? Nonetheless he wasn't the only one- it broke my heart when Brown went over her 'sex lists' in front of the camera. She made organised lists in her immaculate handwriting, of who she had sex with and how many times. Going through the lists she would cover up her painful memories with a smile. Is this honestly how we fail our youth, especially living in the West where we pride ourselves on freedom? Maybe this highlights the US's selective justice system. Why was she being tried as an adult when she was at most, endearingly a child? Were they simply locking her away for the fact that she was a 'nuisance' child and had already paved out her future? Life in prison...Oh pleeease -child molesters get less time than she did. It also took them 2 years to begin the trial. What evidence could they possibly be gathering in 2 years?? She was fierce and fiery...but she was also blunt. Any idiot could tell that she was telling the truth. Tennessee's criminal justice system should have provided her with support and a safe stable home and moved onto criminals who were actually going to be a threat to society.

Everyone should have the opportunity to witness this documentary. As well as being utterly disturbing and nail bitingly tense as the court reaches its verdict, it was also enlightening and educational. Brown displayed next to none emotion when she heard the courts verdict and as chilling as that seems- I don't blame her. She's seen more of the world than anyone of us would want to see. The final footage of the documentary shows her serving her time at Tennessee's Prison for Women, where she has now grown into somewhat of a lady- a polite and intelligent woman with a real future ahead of her. Hear her momentous thoughts that she wrote down in a letter below.

Today she is 22 and her case will be revisited this Autumn. Fingers crossed that justice will finally be served and she will be free. Please take 2 minutes of your time and sign the petition to free her at . Thankyou !

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