Belle Knox has written an open letter in response to the death of 19-year-old Alyssa Funke, who took her life after she was outed as a porn actress.

Funke, who was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, shot herself on April 16 after being cyberbullied by her former high school classmates. The students outed her as the star of a porn video, and her parents say they believe the harassment online played a role in Funke’s suicide.

 

Belle Knox faced a similar situation when she was outed as a porn actress by one of her classmates at Duke University, even after she asked him not to tell anyone that she was indeed the woman he had seen on a porn website.

In her letter on xoJane, Knox talks about the similarities between her stories and Funke’s as well as her own battle with bullying after being outed by her classmate. The letter caused the xoJane site to crash when it was first published on Friday.

When I first heard your story, my eyes immediately filled with tears. A rush of emotions overwhelmed me: outrage, anger, shock and then, a sort of humming dread and disgust. Inside my chest, I felt a gnawing sensation. My body shivered.

That could’ve been how it all ended for me, too, I thought to myself.

As several news outlets have pointed out, your story is my story is your story -- is every young porn girl's story. The same tragedy, the same parents' nightmare, the same slut-shaming following an impulsive decision to make an X-rated video for the Internet that captures our sexuality -- for pay no less -- forever.

Knox continued that though she also thought about taking her own life, but said she held onto a “flicker of hope” that inspired her to continue despite the negativity. She said she does not blame the porn industry for Funke’s suicide. Instead, she named the cyberbullying and the negative stigmas placed on porn.

She added that she wished she had been able to speak with Funke before she took her life and encourage her to keep fighting.

My God how I wish I could have been able to reach to you.

I wish I could have done something. I wish I could have held you tight and told you about all of the great things you are meant to do in this world. I would have told you that it does get better, past the darkness -- and that the ignorance of some asinine college students today would have no significance in your life in a few years, when you were a successful, bad-ass anesthesiologist just like you said you were going to be. I would instill in you that your self-worth is not predicated on your sexuality, and that you have every right to live your life as you choose.