Amanda Knox took the opportunity of this year's Valentine's Day to publicly detail the non-sexual relationship she had with a woman while incarcerated in Italy.
In a first-person account published by Vice, Knox discussed the complex relationship she shared with a fellow inmate during her wrongful imprisonment following the murder of a woman with whom she shared a home while studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, in 2007.
Titled "What Romance in Prison Actually Looks Like," the account begins about three years into the Washington state native's nearly 4-year incarceration, when a transfer inmate Knox calls "Leny" arrives at Capanne prison.
"Every day, Leny watched me jog around the yard," Knox writes. "She told me she was a lesbian and I told her I was straight."
Knox writes that Leny was dogged in her attempts to befriend her, nonetheless. "At least initially, Leny might not have been trying to seduce me, and was actually just in need of someone kind to distract her from her loneliness. This is common. Contrary to what you might guess, many prison relationships aren't about sex — just like most relationships outside of prison," she writes.
However, Knox says Leny wanted more.
"Leny wanted to hold hands. 'I've changed women before,' she'd tell me. 'I can do things to you that no man can.' I felt objectified," Knox says. "I'd get annoyed. 'You can't change me,' I'd respond. She'd think I was playing hard to get. One day, Leny kissed me."
Knox says she distanced herself from Leny after the kiss but admits that life behind bars creates unique circumstances in which relationships take on a new meaning and importance.
"'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,” Knox says. "We overlook non-sexual romantic relationships. 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."
Knox's conviction in the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, was reversed in 2011 before she was re-convicted in 2013. She was acquitted a final time by an Italian court in 2015.
The entirety of her Vice piece on Leny and prison relationships can be read here.