Everyone should stop and read Jennifer Lawrence’s powerful response to her stolen photos

In this month’s issue of “Vanity Fair,” Jennifer Lawrence opens up about the traumatic experience of having her phone hacked and her private photos scattered all over the Internet.

Lawrence originally gave her VF interview on August 13th. Her photos were leaked on August 31st. The contributing editor who had originally interviewed her, Sam Kashner, followed up with Lawrence post-leak, because he wanted to give Lawrence “a chance to have the last word.”

Lawrence, in fact, had SEVERAL last words, and they are powerful words indeed.

“Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this,” Lawrence told Vanity Fair in her follow-up interview. “It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that we even live in that kind of world. ”

Up until this point, Lawrence had not commented publicly on the hack, and now she explains why:

“Every single thing that I tried to write made me cry or get angry. I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for. I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

Lawrence wants to make it clear that what happened to her was not a “scandal,” but rather a sex crime.

“It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these websites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it. It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside.”

And, like many of the women affected by the leak, she doesn’t just blame the hackers, but also holds anyone who looks at her personal pictures responsible for violating her privacy.

“Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offense. You should cower with shame. Even people who I know and love say, ‘Oh, yeah, I looked at the pictures.’ I don’t want to get mad, but at the same time I’m thinking, I didn’t tell you that you could look at my naked body.”

She also has some strong words for the tabloids, who have been treating this photo leak like a month-long field day:

“You have a choice. You don’t have to be a person who spreads negativity and lies for a living. You can do something good. You can be good. Let’s just make that choice and—it feels better.”

As devastating as this experience has been, Lawrence is picking herself up and putting herself back together.

“Time does heal, you know. I’m not crying about it anymore. I can’t be angry anymore. I can’t have my happiness rest on these people being caught, because they might not be. I need to just find my own peace.”

I am so blown away by the power of Jennifer Lawrence’s words on this nightmare of an ordeal. She makes no apologies for herself, she makes no excuses for the people who have violated her privacy.

Since this news broke, we’ve seen blame inexplicably placed on women in the photos—putting their private lives under moral scrutiny—when in fact they’re the ones who were violated. These same victims also shouldn’t have to apologize for their personal lives or their sexuality. By calling the stolen photos a crime rather than a scandal, she’s firmly placing the responsibility where it should be—on the hackers—rather than on the victims of the leak and stopping the woman-shaming in its tracks.

Leave it to Lawrence to use her platform to reframe the conversation in a brave, smart and honest way.

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