The case of Cyntoia Brown


author: annie trussler | op-ed editor

Credit: Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Dear children: we are going to protect you.

Content Warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault.

Have you ever heard the name Cyntoia Brown? I hadn’t until a week or so ago. I passed the name on my Facebook feed and decided to do a little googling. Cyntoia was a child sex slave that mustered the courage to shoot and kill her attacker. She faces a life sentence for doing so.

Big names are attached to this case, most important of them being Kim Kardashian. Kim K herself has funnelled thousands of her millions into freeing Cyntoia from her unjust imprisonment. I don’t keep up with the Kardashians, but I have to give kudos to Mrs. Kardashian-West for this act of humility.

The real issue here is one of rape culture. A young woman, still a child, was held captive and used as a prostitute, and still she is punished for acting against her aggressor. This girl is nothing short of a hero. She should have shot him as many times as possible.

Punishments must fit the crime – if there’s no real crime here, there should be no punishment. If someone is assaulted and raped on the street, they have the right to kill them as an act of self-defence. Rape is an act that may well end in death for the victim, so I fully believe the victim reserves the right to fight back by any means necessary.

What this case says is that children do not deserve to fight back against sexual predators. This girl was used as a sex slave for many years – this is a child we are talking about, a child who is going to face life in prison for taking her life into her hands. This reality is disgusting.

The courts may as well have come forward and say they have no humanity for rape victims. They may as well have suggested that young female rape victims mean nothing in the eyes of the law, and should eventually learn to sit down, shut up, and keep their problems quiet.

Dear rapists: you are not safe. You cannot continue to do what you do; we are starting to fight back. Any and all measures will be taken to keep us safe.

Dear children: we are going to protect you. The system failed Cyntoia Brown, but I promise things will continue to evolve, the world will get stronger, and we will keep you safe. I know the world seems bleak, daunting, and frightening, but I promise there are adults out there that want to keep you safe.

This is one of those cases you should not watch lightly. You should consider the sheer gravity and weight of this situation. There is a young woman who killed her attacker when she was 16, and she will face spending the rest of her life behind bars. This teaches us that fighting back against sexual violence is worth getting arrested over. I don’t think so.

Cyntoia, we will fight for you for as long as possible. With Kim K’s wealth, you may stand a shot. I believe in you, and I’m sorry.

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