Cyntoia Brown-Long Shows Solidarity With 19-Year-Old Sex Trafficking Victim Chrystul Kizer, Whose Story Eerily Mirrors Her Own
Cyntoia was once in Chrystul's shoes.
December 21, 2019 at 5:51 pm
Update (December 27, 2019): Cyntoia Brown-Long is doubling down on her advocacy for 19-year-old sex trafficking victim Chrystul Kizer, who is facing life in prison for killing her alleged sex abuser.
Less than a week after posting a photo of herself in a hoodie bearing the words "Justice for Chrsytul," Brown-Long wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post discussing the changes that need to be made in order to help all sex trafficking victims.
Brown-Long wrote about the differences in society’s understandings of sex trafficking of minors and culpability of girls between 2006, when she was sentenced, to now. The 31-year-old asserted that empathy should be extended to other victims. In the letter, Brown-Long also stated she hopes her case serves as a learning opportunity for similar situations, writing that her experience isn’t “unique.”
“I was freed in August, but that can’t be the end of this story," she wrote. "It has always been my hope that my case would show people there is a need to change things for other young women in similar circumstances.”
The founder of the GLITTER project calls on readers to mobilize behind the victims of sex trafficking. She says that while her case may have received a national campaign, many others are going through the same situation without anyone hearing their name or their story.
“But how we respond determines whether the faces we see can serve as representation for the ones we don’t. For every name we know — for every #freecyntoiabrown campaign — there are countless others who will never be heard. Unless we work to change the laws behind the injustices, identical injustices will follow.”
She urges readers to advocate in a way that will help all sex trafficking victims, rather than just the ones who are receiving media coverage. Brown-Long called for a change in laws, referring to the loophole in Kizer’s case which states they believe she was not “engaged in prostitution at the time of the crime and they don't believe her life was in danger at the moment.” Prosecutors also allege they have evidence the murder was premeditated.
Kizer is being held on $1 million bail. If convicted as charged, she faces life in prison.
Original story (December 23, 2019): Cyntoia Brown-Long expressed support for a teen girl facing life in prison for killing the man who sexually abused her, a tragic ordeal similar to the one she faced 15 years ago.
On Friday, Brown-Long posted a picture of herself wearing a “Justice for Chrystul” hoodie on Instagram.
The garment’s message refers to Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old young woman facing life in prison for killing Randy Volar, an alleged sexual abuser.
On June 5, 2018, Volar’s badly burned body was found in his Kenosha, Wisconsin, home after a neighbor called 911 to report a fire, according to The Washington Post. Volar’s BMW was later found abandoned on the side of a road. A receipt found in the car led police to a Family Dollar, where surveillance tape showed Kizer’s brother and three other teens had driven the car.
Kizer, who was 17 years old at the time, was arrested four days after the death. She was charged with theft, arson and first-degree intentional homicide. If convicted, she faces a mandatory life sentence.
At the time of his death, Volar was being investigated for abusing several underaged Black girls. In February 2018, a 15-year-old girl called the police and accused the 34-year-old of drugging her and claimed she was going to be killed. In December 2017, a 17-year-old girl told authorities she was being sexually abused by Volar. She also revealed he was reportedly abusing other girls and filming the encounters.
“Sometimes he goes to Milwaukee to find young girls,” a police report stated.
One of the girls the 17-year-old spoke of was referred to as “Chrystal.”
Volar was arrested following the 2018 incident but was released without bail even though more than 20 “home videos” of him abusing the girls were recovered from his home.
He was charged with child enticement, second-degree sexual assault of a child and using a computer to commit a sex crime. Volar faced 40 years in prison.
Prosecutors argue Kizer’s actions were premeditated based on evidence from conversations she had with her boyfriend and others, reports ABC News. She admitted she killed Volar but insists it was in self-defense after he tried to force himself on her.
As Blavity previously reported, Kizer’s experience is similar to Brown-Long's story. Brown-Long served 15 years in prison for killing Johnny Allen after he picked her up for sex when she was 16 years old. She was released from prison in August after outgoing Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam granted her clemency in January. Kizer's lawyer Carl Johnson hopes to spare his client time in prison.
"It's an uncomfortable situation, but we're working very hard to explore every defense for the best possible outcome in the case," he told Blavity in August.
Kizer’s trial is scheduled to begin in February.