22/01/2018 13:53 GMT

'Coronation Street' Star Melissa Johns Addresses Intimate Photo Leak: 'Disabled Bodies Can Be Sexual'

'It will take a lot more than a few leaked photos to to stop me fighting for equality.'

Former ‘Coronation Street’ star Melissa Johns has said she hopes her nude photo leak with help “dismantle discrimination” towards disabled people.  

The actress, who was born with only one arm, was the victim of a hacker who leaked private photographs intended for her boyfriend. 

However, Melissa has said rather than being “devastated” at the situation, as many outlets have reported, she hopes the leak will help people to understand disabled people still have sex lives. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Melissa Johns was the victim of a intimate photo leak

Reclaiming the narrative around the leak, Melissa said on Instagram: “A week ago I found out that I have had private photos leaked online by a hacker. Private, intimate and jokey photos between myself and my partner.

“The papers are saying that I’m ‘devastated’. That this is ‘hell’. That’s not my take on it at all.

“I dedicate almost everything I do to fighting for female empowerment and the empowerment of people with disabilities. I’m not about to go back on my principles now.

“With that said, I wanted to share my statement.”

She continued: “I’ve always felt that I have been given this body for a reason. Because someone, somewhere, knew that I had the strength to deal with it.

“Ever since school, when I have been bullied or inappropriate comments have been made about my arm, I have learned to deal with things in a calm and positive way. 

“This was an intimate exchange that took place privately between myself and my boyfriend and it is completely unacceptable when people have their privacy disrespected in this way.

“However, as a vocal champion of women being totally at one with their bodies and not being ashamed of them, I am not about to turn around now and go back on my own principles.

“I am proud of my body. It is beautiful. And I am entitled to enjoy it and to have a personal and a romantic life just as all women – of all different body shapes and sizes, are entitled to do.

“Women get these types of photos leaked all the time, but what is more unusual is to see a woman with a disability depicted in this way.

“If any good has come out of this, it is to show that women with all different types of body shapes and sizes send photos, have sex lives, engage in intimate exchanges in the same way as everybody else.

“My body is unique, beautiful, and representative of what is still a very under-represented demographic of people in our society today.

“So if this goes some way to dismantling discrimination, and showing that disabled bodies can be beautiful and even sexual, then that is a positive thing.”

She added: “It will take a lot more than a few leaked photos to to stop me fighting for equality and the mainstream representation of women of all different shapes and sizes.”

Melissa enjoyed a month-long stint in ‘Coronation Street’ last year, playing the role of Imogen Pascoe, who was in a love triangle with Kate Connor and Rana Nazir.

She previously starred in ‘Doctors’ and ‘The Interceptor’.

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