A lesbian prison inmate once tried to seduce her during her incarceration in Italy, Amanda Knox said in an essay for Vice.
In the essay titled “What Romance in Prison Actually Looks Like”, the American college student, who was famously accused, convicted of and then exonerated in the murder of her roommate, revealed how she met Leny (name changed) in the prison yard about three years into her incarceration.
“Between 2007 and 2011, I was imprisoned for a murder I didn’t commit,” Knox wrote. “By the time Leny entered the picture, I had already served three of those years. I didn’t talk to her. I didn’t talk to most people. Generally, I kept to myself.”
Knox detailed how Leny grew encouraged when Knox related to her stories of being ostracized in her community. “When I was 14, a rumor went around my Catholic high school that I was a lesbian, alienating me from everyone but a small group of my classmates,” Knox said. “Later, I became an LGBTQ ally and helped found the Gay-Straight Alliance at my high school.”
In the beginning, Leny wanted to hold hands and told Knox, “‘I’ve changed women before,'” Knox said. But she added that their budding friendship ended when Leny tried to kiss Knox.
“I gritted my teeth and half-smiled, wavering between embarrassment and anger,” Knox said. “It was bad enough that the prison institution took ownership of my body―that I was caged and strip-searched on a regular basis and had already been sexually harassed by male guards. As a prisoner, Leny should have understood that, but unlike me, Leny was serving a short stint, and didn’t feel as acutely as I did the loss of privacy, dignity, and autonomy. A small town drug dealer, Leny didn’t know what it felt like to have her past, present, and future stolen―not like I did.”
Knox used her personal experience to discuss the larger issue of public fascination with prison relationships, “in part because we’re morbidly curious about anything to do with transgressors and criminals, but also because their relationships are titillating and a little mysterious,” she said.
“The relationships inmates establish with each other are treated as nothing more than kinky lies to be ashamed of upon returning to the real world. But they’re not,” she concluded. “‘Gay for the stay’ is an insensitive oversimplification that signals a lack of understanding about what it’s really like to be imprisoned, and an underestimation of human nature.”