THE BLOG
10/17/2014 06:17 pm ET Updated Dec 17, 2014

How Jennifer Lawrence Broke Her Silence

When the news broke that a long list of celebrity nude photos had been leaked, the backlash and reactions were numerous.

Feminists everywhere took a stance calling the action humiliating, sexist and disturbing. Tabloids had a field day. Kaley Cuoco, one of the celebrities who was hacked, was able to laugh it off with the help of her costars, according to her Twitter and interview on Jimmy Kimmel.

One of the celebrities we did not hear from, though, was Jennifer Lawrence.

Lawrence was silent up until October 8, when her interview with Vanity Fair was released. She had originally been interviewed for the magazine on August 13 by contributing editor Sam Kashner.

The photos leaked August 31, and Kashner respectfully followed up with her. He says this was "a chance to have the last word," which Lawrence rightfully deserved.

The reaction out of Lawrence was not what was expected. Then again, none of us really knew what to expect.

Lawrence rose to fame as a teenage girl fighting to the death while experiencing the turmoil that is growing up with emotions and relationships. She used her public platform to encourage a positive body image, showing her character in the Hunger Games as a strong warrior rather than a skinny and weak girl with unattainable beauty.

Jennifer Lawrence continued her career starring in films like The Silver Linings Playbook, which won her an Oscar in 2013, and American Hustle, alongside Bradley Cooper. She is a respected actress who is good at her craft and is viewed as a healthy role model for young girls.

So what are we to make of the nude photo hack?

"Either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he's going to look at you," Lawrence told Kashner in her interview. She admitted to having a range of emotions in terms of addressing the photos to the public and her fans, but "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."

The impact of the hack is unfathomable for females across the globe, and one cannot even begin to address how they would tell their family. Lawrence continued with Kashner, "when I have to make that phone call to my dad and tell him what's happened ... I don't care how much money I get for The Hunger Games," she said. "I promise you, anybody given the choice of that kind of money or having to make a phone call to tell your dad that something like that has happened, it's not worth it."

Lawrence goes on to say:

"It is not a scandal. It is 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 Web sites 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."

By calling the hack a "crime," Lawrence has taken the blame off of herself. She is no longer the one at fault for the photos. As she said, she was in a healthy, long distance relationship, and taking pictures of yourself for your significant other is not uncommon in our time.

What is common, though, is victim blaming, and this has women outraged.

Victim blaming is when a crime against a person occurs, often a sexual crime, and the blame is put on the victim. For instance, a woman walking down the street in a short skirt, revealing top and boots, gets raped.

Victim blamers would say that she "shouldn't have been wearing that outfit" or that she was "asking for it." While one may have that opinion, it is simply untrue and blatantly false.

A woman is not "asking for it" by wearing a certain outfit. She is entitled to walk home without being assaulted regardless of what is or is not on her body. While victim blaming does seem crazy and outrageous, it unfortunately happens more often than we would like to know.

When a person hears the word "crime," they think of a criminal -- a person at fault for doing something against the law. While we may never find the exact source of the leaked photos, we have to at the very least stop blaming the women for taking them.

Taking a private, intimate photograph and giving it to the public eye through an explicitly illegal stunt is not only morally wrong, it is a crime which should receive punishment. The person at fault for these photos is the hacker -- not Lawrence, Cuoco or any of the other celebrities whose photos were leaked.

The blame solely lies on the person behind the screen, and for that matter, any one else who viewed the photos. People that took the time out of their day to search for the photos of these women have also violated their privacy and are also executing a sexual offense.

We can stop blaming these women for taking pictures of themselves. While I do not condone the behavior, it is very unlikely that these celebrities are the only ones that have photographed themselves. They are comfortable with their bodies, so we cannot blame them.

And who is this person, as an American citizen living in a post-Edward Snowden world, to hack into someone's phone and spread their private photos all over the internet? It would take a pretty heartless person to do so.

In the midst of all this, Jennifer Lawrence has proven herself, once again, to be the mature, beautiful and wise young woman that we make her out to be.

Finishing her interview with Sam Kashner, she says,"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."

So thank you, Jennifer Lawrence, for putting an end to this vicious cycle of victim blaming, even if only for a moment. Women around the world are commending you for your defense of your body.

**To read her full interview with Sam Kashner, pick up the November issue of Vanity Fair.

By: Olivia Harris, University of Maryland