In 2004, then-16-year-old Cyntoia Brown ran away from home to be with the love of her life — a 24-year-old pimp called “Cut-throat”.
According to court records, Cut-throat physically and sexually abused the teenager.
Cut-throat pimped Brown out to older men for money. This is how she met 43-year-old Johhny Allen, who made her feel nervous and fearful in his home.
Sensing her life was in danger, Brown pulled a handgun out of her bag and shot Allen to death.
She was convicted of 1st-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole after serving 51 years.
Brown’s story began making the rounds on social media after Fox 17 Nashville published a new report on her life behind bars on Thursday, Nov. 16.
The report notes that, under a 2011 law, street smart girls who run away from home and turn to prostitution for quick cash must now be referred to as “sex trafficking and manipulation victims.”
Fox 17 says that law would have made a difference in Brown’s sentence. But because she was convicted after the law went into effect, she can’t be grandfathered in.
The report caught the eye of empathetic celebrities such as Rihanna and Kim Kardashian-West, who used their substantial social media platforms to rally support for the young woman on Tuesday.
“Did we somehow change the definition of #JUSTICE along the way??” Rihanna wrote on Instagram.
“Something is horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life! To each of you responsible for this child’s sentence I hope to God you don’t have children, because this could be your daughter being punished for punishing already!”
Rihanna added the hashtags #FreeCyntoiaBrown and #HowManyMore.
“The system has failed,” Kardashian-West tweeted.
“It’s heart breaking to see a young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right. I’ve called my attorneys yesterday to see what can be done to fix this.”
Fox 17 said Brown is not likely to be freed from prison.
Perhaps her sealed juvenile criminal record tells a story that Rihanna and Kim did not see in Fox 17’s report.