“I went against the advice of several people and did what one should never do, I read the comments. I read the comments on support pages, articles, and photos. While a lot of the messages were wonderful, so many of them were about how attractive or unnattractive the commenter thought I was. They thought that because my face is all over the internet, they had the right to dehumanize me and reduce me to an object, just like the fucking state did. I am not number #42611-086 and I am not a number on your 0-10 scale of hot or not. They thought I would enjoy the attention if I knew about it. I am glad that many came to my defense and confronted the blatant misogyny, however it was mostly met with ‘stop being so serious.’ Someone even went to the extent to Photoshop my tattoos from photos in order to make me appeal more to the mainstream. I will say now, and let me be clear: I do not care what anyone on this planet thinks about how I look. I do not appreciate comments about my appearance. I do not want your compliments. I do not owe anyone a curtsy, a sweet smile and a ‘thank you so much.’ I do not have to be gracious about it, I do not owe respect to those who do not show respect to me. I also saw how people made a lot of casual references to me getting sexually assaulted. This is extremely disrespectful, especially because that is something I have dealt with too many times in my life as is. I am more than a face, a body, a (former)prisoner, a number. To anyone who reduces me to those things: you are my enemy, not my ally, you are not my friend, not my comrade, not my supporter and I do not appreciate you. I have despised sexism/misogyny my entire life and I have confronted it at every opportunity, as I am doing right now. If you support someone for something they do, just say that. What you think about their appearance is irrelevant. Keep your opinion to yourself because if you are furthering one kind of oppression while trying to fight another, you aren’t actually accomplishing anything.”
Leah’s official quote on seeing the internet’s response for the first time after being released.