What’s wrong with Tennessee?

Despite the law that calls for trying child prostitutes as adults being reversed, a Tennessee parole board could not agree to #FreeCyntoiaBrown last week, whose case was pivotal in reversing the law that should now nullify her conviction.

Brown was 16 years old when she killed the man who bought her to be his sex slave. She endured continued abuse and violence at his hand, usually at gunpoint. She killed her abuser out of a justified fear for her own life. The law was changed in an acknowledgment of how unjust it is for children to be tried as adults. But neither Brown’s judge nor parole board are interested in doing the right thing.

That leaves us with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Perhaps he can see that Brown is the true victim here. Her captor knew he was breaking the law when he bought a human being for non-consensual sex. Brown’s captor died in the midst of committing a sex crime against a minor. Cyntoia Brown’s 51 year minimum sentence can be reversed. She can be given clemency for time served by Gov. Haslam. Brown has already served 13 years and is in the prime of her life at the age of 29. If you want to make a difference in Cyntoia’s life and her case, call Gov. Haslam’s office: (615) 741-2001 or email him at bill.haslam@tn.gov today. Haslam also has an official Facebook page. Haslam leaves office in January, and every day Brown spends in jail for self-defense is one day too many. This survivor of sexual violence is literally being punished for asserting agency over her own body; being made to endure imprisonment in addition to sexual abuse.

Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West have advocated to #FreeCyntoiaBrown. It would be great for Taylor Swift to do the same–we saw how her call for her fans to register and vote resulted in a huge spike in millennial electoral participation in the midterms.

Brown’s case is under appeal with the Sixth Circuit Court.