Monday, November 27, 2017

How Posting Pictures of Cyntoia Brown In A Prison Uniform Repeatedly Criminalizes Her

 Cyntoia Brown delivering a commencement speech at Lipscomb University

Cyntoia Brown was a victim of sex trafficking. At 16 she killed a 43-year-old child predator who purchased her to use for sex. She fought back, shot and killed him. Cyntoia was arrested and convicted as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. As it stands today, she will be eligible for parole when she is 69 years old. Cyntoia has been in prison for 13 years.  She’s been a role model inmate, having completed her GED and an Associates Degree. 

At first, I thought all of the media outlets were posting pictures of Cyntoia Brown in her prison uniform because there just weren’t any other images of her available, but then I Google searched images and found a photo of Cyntoia Brown delivering a commencement address before receiving her Associate's Degree from Lipscomb University. She works as a consultant for the Juvenile Justice System and helps teach classes.

For the last 7 years or so the media has been following her story more and more closely and this passed week Cyntoia’s story has gained the attention of a mass of celebrities donating legal and financial support. So why is the media continuously posting images of the girl in a prison uniform? When the general public sees a prison uniform they automatically see a criminal whether the person is innocent or not. Criminal defense attorneys historically fought courts to have the clients dressed in normal attire such as suits, dresses, etc. in order to present to the judge and jury an image that is relatable to them - an image that they can empathize with. But when we post images of a girl in a prison uniform, we continuously criminalize her. The audience doesn’t know her story until they read the article and then it’s too late. They see the image, the headline and their minds register a criminal. 

Here is a picture of a smart, beautiful young woman who received ineffective counsel. Cyntoia Brown deserves a new trial. 

There are thousands-if not millions of other women who've been victimized like Cyntoia. Please share and donate to the Women Like Us Foundation campaign to help sex trafficking victims escape sexual exploitation.

 Cyntoia Brown delivering a commencement speech at Lipscomb University
Cyntoia Brown delivering a commencement speech at Lipscomb University

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authorHi. I’m Daisi. I’m a creative media personality (Modelpreneur) who’s helping more people understand the relationship between media and culture. My focus is on social media specifically (i.e. technology, communication, etc.); and how they impact culture and society.