Amanda Knox

// 5 December 2009

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Amanda Knox has been convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher, and if you weren’t paying attention, you might believe that she did it alone.

In fact, two men have also been convicted of the murder – one last night and one last year, but they are very much secondary to the story, even though, as far as I can tell, it has never been decided who did the actual killing.

Now, I have not studied the trial or the evidence, and I do not know whether Amanda Knox did or did not kill Meredith Kercher, but I do know that this is seeming to be another legal case where the woman involved is demonised to a degree rarely seen in male defendants.

And the fact that Amanda Knox appears to be a young woman with some confidence in her sexuality has certainly worked against her. That she had condoms and a vibrator in a see-through bag has been widely reported, as some kind of proof that she was deranged enough to kill her housemate in a sex game.

That her nickname is Foxy Knoxy has been repeatedly mentioned, though very few reports tell you that that nickname apparently came about due to her skills on a football field rather than anything more salacious. Because that wouldn’t fit the story quite so well.

With the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, Maxine Carr has arguably been more slated by the press and public than Ian Huntley, who actually killed the girls. Maxine Carr’s crime was to lie to the police by giving Huntley an alibi, and there is no indication that she did so with any knowledge of what he had done.

Amanda Knox even got a longer sentence than Raffaele Sollecito, who was also convicted of Kercher’s murder. Issues which seem to have been used against Knox during the trial are so telling about what women are still up against compared to men in these situations.

1. There was a youtube video showing her drunk.

2. She sent an email to a friend saying she had had sex on a train.

3. She wrote a story about a woman being raped and a photo of herself with a machine gun entitled ‘the Nazi’.

4. She did cartwheels in the police station while waiting to be questioned.

Now, while the third of these is certainly questionable, and the fourth somewhat odd, the first two are unremarkable, and are in no way legal evidence for murder.

According to the Guardian,

Italians shrug off extramarital sex, yet they are prim in their attitudes to premarital sex, at least outside the stable context of fidanzamento (engagement). They use the same words for boyfriend and fiance.

So many were taken aback to learn that, by the time she was arrested at the age of 20, Knox had had sex with seven men. They were less outraged by how this information was obtained: Knox was told in prison she was HIV-positive and asked to write a list of her lovers. Before she was told that a mistake had been made, the list was passed to investigators, one of whom passed it to a journalist.

The ethics around that ‘mistake’ are appalling, particularly if it was a tactic to obtain information about her sexual history to use against her during the trial.

Amanda Knox may or may not have committed this murder, and I certainly do not know whether she did. However, two men have also been convicted and rarely even mentioned. That Knox is a woman, and a woman with some sexual history, appears to have damned her.

Comments From You

Temple of Anubis // Posted 5 December 2009 at 2:00 pm

An excellent article. I agree that women are still demonised for having a sexual history. Are we living in the 21st century? Because it stills feels medieval in this regard. Equality has not yet been won whilst attitudes like this still abound. I have no idea whether this woman is guilty of murder, but in the eyes of men and the law she is guilty of having sex – and dare I say it, liking it?

polly // Posted 5 December 2009 at 2:29 pm

Thanks so much for this Phillipa. Every single press report I’ve read seem to have forgotten the Sollecito WAS also found guilty of murder. “knox guilty of murder” etc etc etc. The BBC at least managed ‘two found guilty of murder’.

I also think it’s incredibly distasteful and disrespectful to Meredith Kercher and her family that the murder has been reported in such a sexualised manner.

Kez // Posted 5 December 2009 at 4:19 pm

I was having a rant about this this morning. I have no idea whether Amanda Knox is guilty or not, but either way, she has undoubtedly been demonised in the press in a way which is disgraceful, if unsurprising, given the way that women who are associated with awful crimes are invariably treated. As you point out, Maxine Carr somehow became public enemy number one and doubtless her personal safety is still at risk, although she had no involvement at all in the Soham murders and her only crime was to try to protect her boyfriend, whom she may or may not have believed to be innocent. Myra Hindley’s name and *that* notorious photograph became a byword for evil even when most people had forgotten the name of Ian Brady, despite him having been the instigator of their crimes.

There was quite an interesting interview with Amanda Knox’s mother a while back – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/27/amanda-knox-mother-interview

Jamaicafest // Posted 5 December 2009 at 4:53 pm

Whether Amanda Knox was demonised or not, there was enough evidence for the jury to find her guilty. Her DNA was found on the murder weapon and that of the victim found on the blade.

gadgetgal // Posted 5 December 2009 at 4:59 pm

I agree that the press demonised her more than the other two on trial, but I have to say the reason why I don’t have as much sympathy for that as others is because she and her family did the usual American trick of hiring a PR firm to keep her in the spotlight in the hopes that it would influence the trial. This quite obviously backfired since most of their case revolved around showing the Italian police and judicial systems as being faulty and less “fair” than theirs (although all I really need to say is “OJ” and that one rightly goes out the window).

I also have to disagree on the reason why they gave her a longer sentence – one piece of DNA evidence they established was Knox’s DNA on the knife handle. In any court they would ALWAYS give the person who carried out the actual killing blow the longest sentence – the only reason hers wasn’t as long as Guede’s was because he chose to fast-track, which meant the judge could impose whatever sentence he wanted, and he chose to impose the longest sentence possible (quite rightly).

I understand why the treatment of Knox by the press might be mentioned here, as a lot of the press vilified her, but Meredith Kercher was also young and liberated and she wasn’t vilified. Why? Because she was the victim. I think there are a lot better, nicer, and more useful people in this world to defend than Amanda Knox. Whatever I think of her press treatment I wouldn’t waste my breath defending her.

I do agree that the reporting of the murder was disrespectful to the Kercher family, they didn’t deserve the salacious coverage (another reason why my sympathy for Knox is pretty low, as she and her support squad in the USA actually drummed a lot of it up deliberately to help her case and raise money for her). But I will also add that the Kerchers said in their statement after the trial : “Ultimately we are pleased with the verdict.

“It’s not a time for celebration. It’s not a moment of triumph.

“We are all gathered here because our sister was brutally murdered and taken away from us. ”

Please don’t forget that here. A young woman was assaulted and murdered – my fight for feminism is for her, not the people who did it. By virtue of what they did they are anti-feminist and they don’t deserve it.

My name is Jose // Posted 5 December 2009 at 5:33 pm

Nice to see a complete disregard for the itallian courts forsenic psychologists professional opinion here!

Yes indeed, they obviously reached their conclusions, from the fact that Amanda had seven partners.

Wow!

Where do you start with this article?

Racist? Misandrist?

Kristel // Posted 5 December 2009 at 5:52 pm

Dear Philippa,

I have loved your posts so far, but I am disappointed with this one. You say you haven’t studied the trial and the evidence – well, that’s a pity. If I was going to write about a case that is the first thing I would want to do.

I get your point about women being convicted on their sexuality rather than the crime they are accused of, and that is certainly a valid point. But Amanda Knox was most definitely not convicted on the basis of her sexuality. There was actual DNA evidence, amongst other things. And please do not forget (that’s if you already know) she also falsely accused another man of murdering Meredith Kercher. That man was arrested, spent time in custody and got some pretty negative press attention himself. I think what you have written is disrespectful to Meredith Kercher (who, unlike Amanda Knox, has had her life taken away so cannot be here to speak up for herself) and her family.

I really think you must have better things to do than defend people like Amanda Knox. Leave that to the PR people her loving family hired for her!

Philippa Willitts // Posted 5 December 2009 at 6:02 pm

Thanks folks for the comments.

Regarding the more critical ones, I perhaps did not make myself clear enough that I was talking about the media coverage and a lot of people’s responses, along with the fact that irrelevant details of Knox’s sexual history were brought into the trial where a man’s would never have been.

The conviction itself was something I deliberately did not go into, it was much more about the coverage and discussions around it. So i wasn’t being racist and dismissing a forensic psychologist for being Italian, nor was I disputing DNA evidence. I was looking at what happens when women and men are tried for serious crimes, and the different responses to each.

I was, however, perhaps wrong to not look more at the effect on Meredith Kercher’s family and the fact that this was the murder of a woman and that that in itself is a feminist issue.

Juliet // Posted 5 December 2009 at 6:10 pm

You’re right, Philippa, someone being drunk in a youtube video or emailing a mate to tell them they’d had sex on a train certainly would not be “legal evidence for murder”.

Their DNA on the murder weapon just might be though!

I have absolutely no sympathy for Amanda Knox. She didn’t need any help from the press to demonise her, in my opinion.

My sympathy lies with Meredith Kercher and her family.

polly // Posted 5 December 2009 at 6:24 pm

The problem with “her DNA was found on the murder weapon” though Jamaicafest, is that it was found on the handle and the knife in question was a vegetable knife found in her boyfriend’s house so her DNA could have been there because she’d used it for cooking. Also the trace of DNA alleged to be Kercher’s was too minute to be reliable according to the defence.

The forensic evidence actually wasn’t that great as the Guardian reports, an expert witness testified that the knife referred to didn’t match the wound’s on Meredith Kerchers neck

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/04/meredith-kercher-amanda-knox-guilty

I think it’s entirely incorrect to say the salacious coverage was drummed up by supporters of Knox. As soon as she became a suspect the press went to her my space page and posted what they’d found there, and there was a huge amount of press interest.

I also think that the reason Kercher wasn’t vilified was yes, that she was the victim, but she was represented as ‘good’ ie not promiscuous. In actual fact Knox had, the Guardian reports, slept with seven men by the age of 20 which is hardly shocking or extraordinary.

You don’t have to have sympathy for Knox to think she’s been treated in an incredibly misogynist way, and that a lot of irrelevant factors have been taken account of that shouldn’t have been. A lot of what was introduced into the Italian court would be inadmissible in the UK. It doesn’t mean she’s innocent but it does cast doubt on the proceedings.

Scarlett // Posted 5 December 2009 at 6:27 pm

I think this post is ill-conceived.

It is certainly ill-informed. Not surprisingly, given that the author admits to not having studied the evidence. Well, that can be boring. Sweeping generalisations are more fun.

You defend Amanda Knox’s basic human right to carry sex aids, get a-holed on youtube videos, write her delightful vignettes about rape and being a Nazi, and not be demonised for her sexuality. That’s cool. But Meredith Kercher had rights too. Like the right not to be sexually assaulted and murdered.

Michelle // Posted 5 December 2009 at 6:34 pm

I had not actually thought of this as a sexist issue so much as a country-based one, I assumed that the BBC and others were purposely demonizing the American and leaving the convicted Europeans alone!

Mo // Posted 5 December 2009 at 6:37 pm

If ever sexual history could be said to be relevant, this is probably the first case where it actually is! Because Amanda Knox did what she had often fantasised about doing.

I hope she and those two men rot in jail for years. Because that is what they deserve. Expecting me to have sympathy for this sadistic murderer’s bloody press coverage! is, as far as I’m concerned, like expecting me to have sympathy for Hitler. Or Ian Brady. Or Myra Hindley. Or any other sadistic murdering lowlife.

What’s this I keep reading on the F-word, about how the blame always belongs squarely with the perp?! Seems to be missing this time.

Melanie // Posted 5 December 2009 at 7:25 pm

Great article, Philippa. You’ve posted what I’ve been thinking for months.

I agree with many of the posters above that the crime was despicable and that, on the balance of evidence, Knox was probably guilty. I have no problem with her going to jail for 26 years or, indeed, indefinitely.

But the overwhelming media emphasis on Knox, rather than her two co-accused, and the suggestion in both court and media that her active sex life is an indication of her moral calibre were misogynist and highly disturbing.

If she’s guilty, she’s no more guilty than Rafael Sollecito and Rudy Guede, just as Myra Hindley was no more guilty than Ian Brady.

jojo // Posted 5 December 2009 at 7:39 pm

I believe the evidence is good enough to prove guilt.

Media representations are working in more than one way.

The section of the press that believe she is guilty are indeed demonising her for her sexuality. But there is also a lot of coverage from the section of press that believe her innocent and are portraying her as a sweet niave girl being harrassed by nasty foreigners with a backward legal system – that does work in her favour (not legally, but it garners her lots of sympathy from the public) and that is absent for the male convicts.

There’s also a race issue in this in that there is next to no interest or public doubt about the first mans conviction even though it’s based on the same investigation.

The media isn’t doing a one way demonising act its more like an extreme polarization. (Which is reflective of representations of women in general, I guess)

childerowland // Posted 5 December 2009 at 7:41 pm

I don’t get the strong criticisms of this article. Philippa did not claim that Knox was innocent, she just pointed out, quite rightly, that the coverage of this case has been extremely sexist. You don’t have to know all the ins and outs of the case to have noticed that – it’s been pretty obvious. And that should be of concern to feminists regardless of whether or not Knox is guilty.

Matt // Posted 5 December 2009 at 7:57 pm

The impression I’ve got from the UK media coverage is that they’ve highlighted the American and ignored the European and African – more to do with English speaking people sticking together and the way we look West rather than East, than to do with gender. However I do agree that female criminals tend to be demonised more than male criminals – paedophiles is a recent example.

The media coverage in general has been very poor – for example the BBC refer to Knox’s ‘confession’ without pointing out it was ruled inadmissable for various reasons. The media in general appear more concerned with the sensational side of the case and the ‘court of public opinion’ rather than the actual facts of the case. This has led to comments like the one above where someone refers to the ‘murder weapon’ despite it never having been proven what was used to murder Kercher. The whole thing is a sad indictment of our society.

The author was not wrong to concentrate on the media coverage. Yes there are other issues to be considered but one article doesn’t have to cover everything.

Regarding the case, there does appear to be very little evidence for Knox’s guilt – the DNA on the knife is easily explained, the blood on the tap is also weak evidence considering she lived in the same house as Kercher, and the lack of Knox’s DNA on Kercher’s body makes it appear a dangerously weak conviction.

jojo // Posted 5 December 2009 at 8:07 pm

Also thinking about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sollecito and Knox had factored in their likely media representations before commiting the crime, being sure of immunity because of their race, class, respective nationalities and his connections. They may well have invited Guede to the murder because he was black, and I think it’s certainly why they implicated the other black guy who was later found to be totally innocent.

Kez // Posted 5 December 2009 at 8:28 pm

@ Mo: “Amanda Knox did what she had often fantasised about doing.” – do you have some evidence that she fantasised about committing such a crime?

Anyway I think people are missing the point of this post. Nobody is defending Amanda Knox – she has plenty of others to fight her corner, as far as I can see – and if she is indeed guilty, she is certainly not deserving of any sympathy. To point out the sexist nature of much of the media coverage is not the same as taking sides in the case or seeking to defend or minimise what has occurred here. Any more than to point out that Myra Hindley was vilified in the press more than Ian Brady is to minimise the appalling nature of their crimes, which I can hardly bear to think about. It doesn’t mean you have any sympathy for them.

Jennifer Drew // Posted 5 December 2009 at 8:58 pm

Totally agree with your article Phillipa and no you were not attempting to ‘whitewash’ Amanda Knox’s conviction in any way. However, you rightly analysed how the international media have once again demonised a woman simply because she is a woman and has now been convicted of the crime of murder.

Even before Knox was tried, the international media sensationalised this case because guess what? Once again it had all ingredients of a case wherein the female defendant supposedly deviated from the male-centered sexual double standard.

Take note readers – two other individuals were also convicted of murder but they have not been subjected to inuendo, personal details concerning their sexual exploits or deliberate attempts to ‘demonise’ them for supposedly deviating from ‘appropriate respectable male sexuality.’

Anyone remember the case wherein a woman, together with her male colleagues was convicted of committing child sexual violence and filming their activities? The woman was also demonised whereas the male perpetrators disappeared in a puff of smoke – the media wasn’t interested in sensationalising them.

I see a very clear link and that is how women who commit crimes are always mis-represented as being far more evil than men who commit similar crimes.

Maxinne Carr did not murder the young girls, but she did give a false alibi – something which men also do – give false alibis. However, because Ms. Carr is a woman she too was subjected to vicious misogynistic claims.

The correct word is misogyny – because this is how the male-dominated international media have treated Amanda Knox.

I do not care in the least that Knox had a vibrator and condoms in her bag – they are not relevant to the case. I wonder if the two males convicted of murder also had condoms on their person or at their homes?

Re: photo of Myra Hindley – in fact that is a police photo and the police are not renowned for taking accurate photos. But because this photo is a very stark one it has become sensationalised. Once again back to demonising women who commit crimes and also incidentally, sending a deliberate message to all women – namely women are supposedly far worse and far more evil than men when women commit crimes. We can apparently ignore the fact it continues to be men who overwhelmingly commit murder and other forms of violence but women are still held to a far higher standard than men.

Before anyone complains – this does not mean I am attempting to minimalise or justify Knox’s conviction because I am not. What I am clearly stating is that women are held to a much higher standard than men and this is what feminists have been challenging for centuries now. The male-centered belief that despite patriarchy telling us men are human and women are male defects – women continue to be punished far more severely than men. Women as a group do not commit nearly as much violence as men so when a woman is tried and convicted she is deemed to be ‘far worse than a man.’

Is this justice or is the law being used to enforce male-control over women as a group? My answer is – yes – the law is never gender neutral. Likewise the media too, knows that by portraying women convicted of a crime as sexually deviant this in itself will increase their profits.

Remember Josef Fritzl convicted of committing multiple rapes against his daughter as well as forcibly imprisoning her for over 10 years? How did the media portray Fritzl? Why he was evil certainly, but in a very different way to Amanda Knox. Fritzl’s crimes were partially excused/justified because guess what? His mother was to blame and this alone caused him to commit sexual violence against his daughter. Now Amanda Knox is supposedly 100% evil who has a predilection for more than one male sexual partner. Clearly any woman who dares to have more than one male sexual partner is ‘sexually deviant’ whereas men who have more than one sexual partner in their lifetimes are apparently normal heterosexual males.

Neither of which is in any way relevant to the crime Amanda Knox was convicted of – namely she together with two males were all involved in murdering a young woman who thought she could trust these individuals. That is the issue and the courts have found all three individuals guilty – but wait a minute Knox received a higher sentence than the two males. Why? Well she is female so this alone makes her more accountable than the two males, because male violence is normal whereas female violence is apparently abnormal.

Kez // Posted 5 December 2009 at 9:52 pm

Jennifer Drew, you refer to (I assume) the Vanessa George case – forgive me if you are referring to a different one, but I assumed that was the one you meant. While I understand your point, I think there is a different issue in so much as George was a nursery worker, a trusted person in a position of responsibility towards the (very young) children she abused, and hence her role attracted more attention – in fact the others involved in that awful case were a woman and a man, neither of whom received as much media attention as did George.

Possibly you are referring to a different case, in which case I apologise.

I don’t think Fritzl’s crimes were excused or justified or blamed on his mother – at least, not in any media comment on the case which I have read. However it’s entirely possible that I have missed this.

Elmo // Posted 5 December 2009 at 10:52 pm

I agree that the media have certainly focused much more on Knox than the other two murderers (yes, i think they are all guilty)-simply because, in this sexist world, an evil woman is always viewed as a much more terrible thing than an evil man. I agree that generally, her sexual behaviour is irrelevant to the case (although some of her tastes seem rather disturbing, certainly). And I agree that Knox is a victim of sexism. But to compare her to Maxine Carr is another thing altogether-we know for a fact that Knox purposefully tried to frame an innocent man, continued to date someone guilty of rape and murder, and was seen staging a break-in and shopping the day after the crime was committed. If nothing else (although i believe the DNA evidence to be correct) she is clearly a manipulative person, and I don’t think we should be focusing on the fact that a killer isn’t being treated very nicely by the media. Yes, they do treat women as “femme fatales”, and yes, its sexist, but I think its also sexist to ignore the woman raped and killed by these three people, and instead focus on this PR dream of a case. The only thing Maxine Carr did was to provide a false alibi. She may have been stupid, scared or manipulated, but she is a very different person from Knox. Knox, who freely admitted to cartwheeling around the police station when being questioned-what innocent person does that? Or which killer who feels guilty for what they have done? So yes, the media have been guilty of sexism towards Knox. But what I find more sexist, and tragic, is the fact that we are talking about her at all, rather than remembering the life of someone who was a victim of the worst kind of misogyny.

matt // Posted 5 December 2009 at 10:57 pm

1 male got 30 years. The other got 25. Amanda got 26 because she implicated an innocent man. What is sexist and unfair about her sentence? The 3 numbers above are far more important than who the media focuses on.

matt // Posted 5 December 2009 at 11:02 pm

You might like to know that the United States media has portrayed Amanda as a sweet, shy victim of the Italian justice system. There is a heavy sentiment of sympathy, regardless of the fact that she is a convicted murderer.

CATHY AB // Posted 5 December 2009 at 11:58 pm

This artical is spot on,i’ve felt the same since the trial started as i’m sure have many people as its been so blatently bias from the start.We have a tv in the canteen at work and while i usually avoid getting into debates on my lunch when people round the table start making the usual comments i’ve had to point out to them that women who show confidence are going to be judeged negatively add to that a sexually active/independent/confident (basically anything apart from a sexual object because you know society is ok with that) and she’s been judged guilty before the verdict.I too do not know if she actually commited this crime but i do know she has not been given a fair trial by the system or the media.

earwicga // Posted 6 December 2009 at 12:43 am

“Anyone remember the case wherein a woman, together with her male colleagues was convicted of committing child sexual violence and filming their activities? The woman was also demonised whereas the male perpetrators disappeared in a puff of smoke – the media wasn’t interested in sensationalising them.”

Agreed – but it does seem to have opened up a debate about female abusers which is a good thing. Knowledge is power.

About Myra Hindley – I thought she actually took a part in the murders (I am certainly not going to start reading about the horrific events) and I see no defence for her, feminist or otherwise.

Teri Barham // Posted 6 December 2009 at 12:47 am

My understanding of the evidence presented is that amanda Knox’s dna was found on the handle of a knife in the sink of the house SHE WAS LIVING IN. The knife has never been proved to be the murder weapon even the prosecutor has just said it could be the murder weapon. It’s hardly conclusive. I don’t have an axe to grind here but it seems to me that real justice for Meredith is making sure the right people are in jail, not a couple of convenient oddballs.

CATHY AB // Posted 6 December 2009 at 12:54 am

Didnt want my last post to be too long but i just have to add something about the comments,the article was not about whether amanda knox has been found guilty when innocent and there is no criticism of the relavent evidence that was used.This is about how she was treated compared to the male defendents.This effects us all, everyone is entitled to a fair trial and what happened to amanda knox happens to every woman to a certain extent who stands trial whatever the crime ,whether innocent or guilty.It’s not about showing her sympathy and its not ok to excuse the sexism just because shes guilty.This is about half the population not been equal before the law.

Truth // Posted 6 December 2009 at 1:04 am

Amanda apparently got the extra year of her sentence because she defamed someone by accusing them of the crime and later admitted she had no basis for the accusation – http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1945845,00.html

Maria // Posted 6 December 2009 at 2:07 am

The use of ‘Foxy Knoxy’ just grates me, even if it is just because this is meant to be concerning something serious.

She’s like being patronised, sexualised and demonised at the same time. Wonderful international misogyny at work.

earwicga // Posted 6 December 2009 at 2:23 am

There is an article on the Guardian website which talks about the forensic evidence, or lack of really: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/06/amanda-knox-meredith-kercher-trial-perugia

There is also a CIF piece by Barbara Ellen that covers much the same ground as the op.

Hmmm... // Posted 6 December 2009 at 3:45 am

I think you’ve made an excellent point. I’m Canadian, so I haven’t been reading all of the lurid European coverage, nor have I been paying attention to the American coverage. What I have read of the evidence, though, is weak. I think this girl and her boyfriend have been railroaded. I don’t think they are guilty. I also think the Italian justice system is a joke; corruption is a huge problem over there.

uncle joe mccarthy // Posted 6 December 2009 at 4:28 am

i dont know alot about the italian judicial system, but it seems that they do not use reasonable doubt…cuz there is plenty in this case

the dna evidence is laughable, the alledged confession is a joke as is the motive

knox shouldve been found not guilty

and im sorry that italians think that women should only be sexual playthings to men

still living in the 18th century

dave lynne // Posted 6 December 2009 at 6:15 am

I think a lot of males think women should be made of sugar and spice and forget the fact that women in general are more adept at being deceitful, and dishonest ( i’m talking from a skill point of view)than they are. Men like to think there the govners . Thats where the problem lie’s with some one like amanda knox, if you was to go with what you see on the surface or first looks or actualy believe the Itailians have rig the trial to suit them selfs then she innocent, but if you dig deeper and read all the trial evidence and then some that was not allowed and the trial judges sumation you see how deceitful amanda and co have been.if amanda was a male student with similar back ground, i still think there would have been alot of press coverage. But becaues she female there seem to be more of a shock factor and i believe this makes men and women uncomfortable for different reasons, hence more press coverage.

Truth // Posted 6 December 2009 at 7:10 am

Maria – This article, if correct, sys she preferred (prefers?) the name Fox Knoxy – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-498853/The-wild-raunchy-past-Foxy-Knoxy.html

Aimes // Posted 6 December 2009 at 7:16 am

Great post.

That’s an interesting article Kez linked in the third comment, and it clears up a lot of the confusing points of Knox’s behavior.

I don’t know if the hysteria over her sexuality had anything to do with the jury’s decision. But I do know that it played a huge part in the absolutely scathing coverage of her in the international press. And once people decided that she was a “slut,” they convicted and passed sentence on her in their minds long before the trial was over.

Unless you’re a vestal virgin – unless all the women you care about are protected and pure, that has got to scare you. Putting aside the question of whether Knox actually did it, surely it’s clear that there’s a tremendous amount of distrust and dislike of her based on the fact that she openly enjoyed sex. Apparently, many people find completely foreign the idea that a young woman can do this and be mentally healthy. When you’re nuts enough to carry around condoms and a vibrator and not hide them away in shame, you must be nuts enough to murder a woman while performing some bizarre ritual.

Even if the justice system functioned perfectly – with a jury that focused on the hard evidence and not on sexual behavior – all those slut-shamers make one hell of a mess to live in. Imagine if Knox had not been found guilty, and released. She’d still have to live her life surrounded by condemnation and people who were sure she “must have done it” because she was supposedly sexually depraved.

And in real life, that attitude will seep into the jury as well. If the society condemns women based on their sexual behavior, there will likely be jury members who do the same.

The media treatment of Knox scares me personally – I’m about her age, have had more partners than her, have written darker things than she wrote, and have a background of sex work and BDSM interests that she lacks. I can just imagine what would have happened if I had been in her place.

This case makes it clear that as far as women have come in other areas, we’re still subjected to an alive-and-kicking Madonna/whore dichotomy.

sianmarie // Posted 6 December 2009 at 10:07 am

i agree broadly with the sentiments expressed. if she is guilty then she is guilty and deserves her jail time.

but the press coverage that has surrounded her has been salacious, sexist and overwhelmingly focussed on her role in the murder and assault, rather than treating her the same as her male colleagues (for want of a better word). the media coverage has been really disrespectful to kercher’s family, and also suggests, as other commenters have said, that a woman murderer is somehow worse than a male murderer. murder is murder is murder.

i’m a bit concerend about the euro-phobic/sexist comments above – i am sure not all italians treat women badly and in a sexualised manner (look at all those women academics in italy standing up against berlusconi) nor are women more deceitful and dishonest…lets not slip into boring sterotyping please!

polly // Posted 6 December 2009 at 11:11 am

“”we know for a fact that Knox purposefully tried to frame an innocent man, continued to date someone guilty of rape and murder, and was seen staging a break-in and shopping the day after the crime was committed. “””

Well first of all Knox WASN’T seen staging a break in. The conclusion that a break in was staged was because clothes belonging to another flatmate in the house had been strewn around and glass from a broken window was on top of them, not underneath them as it would have been if someone had broken in.

Secondly, it has been suggested that the police put pressure on Knox to name the man originally accused of the murder.

So she continued to date someone guilty of rape and murder? Assuming that Sollecito is guilty, he also continued to date Knox. Are you attacking him? Do you think those women who marry people who are in prison should also be imprisoned?

She was seen shopping. Oh no. Lock her up and throw away the key.

The evidence that Knox at least tried to cover the crime up is stronger than for her actually participating, since her statements are inconsistent. However the problem is that a lot of the statements Knox made to police were made under conditions that wouldn’t be allowed in the UK. Neither would the type of speculation that has been all over the press, it would be contempt of court.

People are missing the point here. The question isn’t “Is Knox guilty?”, but “did she receive a fair trial?”, and were irrelevant factors taken into account because she was a woman. We have already had comments stating that she had always fantasised about commiting rape and murder, of which there’s no evidence whatsoever, and that her behaviour was reprehensible because she was seen shopping. Neither of which are in way evidence of guilt.

I fervently hope that if I’m ever wrongly accused of anything it’s in the UK and that people who think like that aren’t on the jury.

Kez // Posted 6 December 2009 at 12:16 pm

For goodness sake, I wasn’t trying to defend Myra Hindley! I’m at a loss to understand how you could glean this from my or any other comments. The Moors Murders haunted my childhood and still fill me with grief and horror. My point (and I am frustrated by how this and similar points are continually being confused with an attempt to defend the indefensible) was that Hindley’s name and image have become a representation of evil in a way which Brady’s have somehow not, despite him being the main instigator of their crimes. I’m hardly the first person to ever have pointed this out. I certainly have not claimed however, nor would I ever, that Hindley was not involved, was not guilty, did not deserve her sentence or did not deserve to be publicly reviled.

Kez // Posted 6 December 2009 at 12:19 pm

Also, I am a little alarmed by the way in which irrelevant factors are being used by some commenters here as “proof” of Knox’s guilt. She did cartwheels in the police station. Unusual behaviour, admittedly, in anyone whether innocent or guilty, but it hardly constitutes hard evidence of guilt. People can behave in all manner of bizarre ways under pressure.

Elmo // Posted 6 December 2009 at 12:42 pm

@ Polly-on reflection, some of what I said was definitely out of order-shopping isn’t a crime, and I think Sollecito and her are just as bad as each other, imo. But I was talking about her, not him. I don’t know much about him because the (sexist) press havnt focussed on him, so I couldnt talk about his acrobatic skills anyway.I dont think she is a worse person than the other two convicted, but we were talking about her, not them, so I said what I thought about HER. Yes, she WAS treated badly by the press, her personal life shouldn’t have much bearing on the case, but it seems that while the prosecution evidence is iffy, the defending evidence is no more solid. And of course the reason we are talking about her is because the media has unfairly focused on her as a she-devil-but just because the media demonises a woman doesn’t mean she is an innocent victim, who definitely didn’t do it. We cant ignore the fact that she did try to frame a completely innocent man, in what I suspect was an assumption that the Italian court would be racist towards him (he is black, and was nowhere near the flat at the time). Maybe she is a totally innocent person who desperately needed a scapegoat, maybe not. All I know is, I would think long and hard before giving a completely false account of a man raping and murdering my flatmate. So yes, Knox is a victim of sexism, she is no worse than the other two accused, the Italian legal system is clearly a murky one, and whether she likes to go shopping is irrelevant to a murder trial. Which is, admittedly, the point of this whole discussion. But i’m still uncomfortable lending support to someone accused of such a crime-at least until any evidence proving her innocence is stronger. I also hope, Polly, that you do not take what I write late at night in a bad mood on an internet blog comment forum, knowing that my (unscientific and not particularly deeply thought out) opinions aren’t going to have a profound effect on anyones lives, to be the same as the way i would act when on a murder jury. Luckily i’m too young to do jury duty, so you needn’t worry anyway.

polly // Posted 6 December 2009 at 1:01 pm

Oh and re Myra Hindley. Yes she did take an active part in murdering several victims and there was plenty of evidence from tape recordings that were made. I’m not about to defend her either. Or Amanda Knox if there’s concrete proof of her guilt.

aimee // Posted 6 December 2009 at 1:28 pm

“I think a lot of males think women should be made of sugar and spice and forget the fact that women in general are more adept at being deceitful, and dishonest ( i’m talking from a skill point of view)than they are”

… Oh really nice. What a great generalisation to make.

I actually think you’re wrong, I don’t think there would be NEARLY as much news coverage if the perpetrators had all been male. How many people do you think are murdered every week? How many murder trials do you think there are every week, in various countries, involving persons foreign to that country? How many do we hear about? hardly any. The reason this has received so much coverage is simple: because a woman was involved in the murder and she happened to be sexually uninhibited. Do you not think that the coverage of a story like this shows our values as a society? She was worthy of all this coverage because she enjoyed sex, and because she was a woman. She was therefore EVIL. *sigh*

… I think that Philippa is right. No one is defending her or making excuses for her (although i’m incined to believe that a lot of the evidence against her was circumstantial and the jury was definitely swayed by slurs on her character on the basis of her sexuality)… they are saying that she has been treated in a way that a man would not be, and that is not okay and it is not right. Could you imagine there ever being any outrage because a man of 20 had seven sexual partners? I very much doubt this would be relevant at all. Any case in which a woman is treated differently from a man, to her detriment, is a feminist issue.

Elmo // Posted 6 December 2009 at 2:42 pm

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, while I agree with everything about Knox’s media treatment being unfair, I still feel uncomfortable defending someone who I believe probably did commit the crime she has been accused of.i’m sorry it came across more as me demonising her for liking shopping-i’m just so confused about the whole case-it just doesn’t seem fair to focus more on the plight of the accused than the victim. OK, thats me finished.

gadgetgal // Posted 6 December 2009 at 3:25 pm

Hi – I was initially annoyed at the prioritising of the rights of a murderer over that of a victim of sexual assault and murder, although I accept that if that’s what everyone wants to discuss then that’s up to them. I think it’s untimely and disrespectful, and also less important overall to feminism (woman’s press treatment versus woman’s rape and murder?), but I can see how it can be considered a feminist issue.

However, I really do have to comment on the entire misunderstanding of the Italian legal system and the rampant xenophobia that seems to be going on here. Is the legal system different to what we’re used to? Yes. Does it have it’s drawbacks? Of course, as does every legal system in the world. But however much everyone wants to argue how amazingly backwards it is I’d like you to just ponder a couple of things – our rape conviction rate is around 6%. The Italian rape conviction rate is around 50%. Their jury system is denounced because it includes two judges and they aren’t sequestered – however our jury system has been proved as biased as the people who sit on it (anyone remember Tomorrow’s World Megalab 94?) and the lack of experts on it means misinterpreting of the law is a more common occurrence, leading to mistrials and convictions being overturned, regardless of guilt or innocence. They are denounced because they use circumstantial evidence to try and build up a picture about what happened as opposed to hard evidence only and the letter of the law. Well, all I have to say to that is my ex-boss has been caught for speeding at least 4 times (and he absolutely WAS speeding each time, that’s simply how he drives) but he doesn’t have a point on his license because circumstantial evidence isn’t admissible (apparently a photo from a speed camera won’t do as you can always argue it may have been faulty at the time). Also heavy-handed tactics allegedly used by the police have been critisised, but all I’m seeing is people relying upon the word of Amanda Knox for that – SHE said they hit her, SHE said they put pressure on her. And after all, she MUST be telling the truth, right? Because she’s never been caught out in a lie before – oh, wait…

Basically, the Italian legal system isn’t the greatest in the world, but then again, neither is ours – I don’t think we should be drawn into saying “we’re better than them” when in so many ways we clearly aren’t. This article is about Knox’s biased press treatment – let’s not turn it into an anti-Italian rant!

B. Adu // Posted 6 December 2009 at 3:49 pm

people who think like that aren’t on the jury.

Sylvana // Posted 6 December 2009 at 4:24 pm

I think the derogatory comments about the Italian judicial system are patronising to say the least. What is so great about British ‘justice’, for example, when so many rapists and murderers of women walk away laughing?

Caroline // Posted 6 December 2009 at 4:46 pm

I totally agree that in a lot of cases women convicted of crimes have been ‘demonised’ in a way their male accomplices were not. That needs to change, no question.

But if some commenters here can’t see that picking a sadistic murderer like Amanda knox to hold up and defend as an example of poor media treatment is highly problematic, if not deeply stupid and offensive, then that is what really worries me. Plus some of the remarks about the Italian legal system, which smacks of ill-informed prejudice. The UK system isn’t that wonderful, not last time I looked anyway. And I work in it.

There was actually plenty of evidence for Knox having had murderous fantasies. They are documented and go way back. Please, if you are going to give your opinion, let it be an informed opinion.

To all those who are decrying Amanda Knox’s ‘demonisation’ by the media, please take just one moment to think of how Meredith Kercher must have felt in those few moments she lay dying, drowning in her own blood. And then take another moment to try and think how you would feel if she was your sister or daughter.

Frankie // Posted 6 December 2009 at 5:10 pm

Amanda Knox may have been treated by the press in a way her male co-defendants were not. Maybe that’s because they didn’t post videos calling themselves ‘foxy’ and write stories in which they fantasised about rape and called themselves ‘the Nazi’. Knox did – why is it wrong for the media to report that? Especially as, given what happened, it is obviously highly relevant? She has no way been convicted just because she liked dildos, sex and shopping!

Has it not occurred to some commenters here that the police and lawyers who investigated this case might just know a teeny weeny bit more about it than you do? If you stopped spouting half-baked opinions and did some thinking, you might realise that.

Elmo // Posted 6 December 2009 at 5:34 pm

I don’t think like that, I don’t! I’m just so confused by the whole thing i’m actually starting to make sexist comments! Someone take my comment down before i start crying!Aargh!

Kez // Posted 6 December 2009 at 6:05 pm

@ Frankie:”Maybe that’s because they didn’t post videos calling themselves ‘foxy’ and write stories in which they fantasised about rape and called themselves ‘the Nazi’. Knox did – why is it wrong for the media to report that? Especially as, given what happened, it is obviously highly relevant?”

All those facts are open to alternative interpretation (and before anyone jumps on me, can I say once again NO I AM NOT DEFENDING HER). AFAIK it was her friends who nicknamed her “Foxy”, which is (a) a pretty obvious nickname for someone with the surname Knox, and (b) allegedly referred to her footballing skills rather than anything more suggestive. The “Nazi” thing when she posed with a gun was, according to Knox’s mother, a photo taken in a museum. Admittedly to caption it “the Nazi” was foolish but she is not the first to find that type of thing amusing. She wrote one story, apparently, about rape – again, that doesn’t represent evidence that she was likely to go on to commit a crime like this one.

I’ve been looking at the evidence and actually, it seems flimsy to me. For one thing, there is no evidence that Knox or Sollecito were ever in the room where Meredith died, although there were plenty of prints from Rudy Guede. The knife on which her DNA was found was not proved to be the murder weapon and indeed an expert witness gave testimony that it did not match the wounds. I don’t know if Knox is guilty or not. But I wouldn’t be surprised if an appeal against this verdict were to be successful.

And none of this, of course, takes away from the central, appalling fact that a young woman was horribly murdered and that she is the person who has been almost invisible in much of this.

polly // Posted 6 December 2009 at 6:48 pm

“””There was actually plenty of evidence for Knox having had murderous fantasies. They are documented and go way back. Please, if you are going to give your opinion, let it be an informed opinion.

“”””

So can you tell us what this evidence is and how you know about it Caroline? Because all I’ve heard about is the story on her myspace page, which was actually written for a college assignment.

polly // Posted 6 December 2009 at 7:08 pm

What Kez said. The only DNA evidence that Sollecito had been in Meredith Kercher’s room was his DNA found on the clip of her bra. This was found several WEEKS after the murder and the defence said it could have been contaminated. No DNA was found from Knox.

The problem with taking circumstantial evidence into account is that it doesn’t prove a thing , and you can’t convict someone of a murder on the grounds that they PROBABLY did it. It is up to the prosecution to prove someone is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” in the UK yet we STILL have horrible miscarriages of justice. Anyone remember the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six? Anyone remember Colin Stagg who the police tried to fit up for a murder he didn’t commit on the grounds he was a bit of an oddball?

There is enough evidence, real evidence, (the staged break in, the fact that Knox had phone contact with Guede before and after the murder) to suggest that Knox at least tried to cover up for either Guede alone, or more likely Guede and Sollecito, so she is guilty as an accomplice. But there isn’t anything to place her actually committing the crime.

Louise Bond // Posted 6 December 2009 at 7:20 pm

I don’t think any of this is about defending Knox. For me it is about these men who seem to be getting away with these crimes. By the harsh treatment of women in the criminal justice system and the media it is sending messages out to evil and sadistic men that it is ok for them to commit these crimes just not for women. It also sends out a message that if they incorporate a woman in their crime the blame will be taken off them.

It is the same in the BabyP case and Vanessa George. I have no issue with how harsh these women were treated. My issue is that the men who commit equal and more serious crimes than this are not treated as harshly.

Louise Bond // Posted 6 December 2009 at 7:26 pm

Also where is the justice for the victims of these crimes if men are getting less harsh sentences. We should focus more on the male perpetrators. This needs to be talked about to focus on them. People like Sollecito lets get his name out there as a murderer. If we don’t talk about this case then he and what he did are just forgotten.

Kez // Posted 6 December 2009 at 7:36 pm

I’d be interested to know where Caroline gained this information, too. I decided to seek to, as she suggests, inform myself – but a quick Google search hasn’t turned up anything much – admittedly I haven’t looked into it exhaustively. The main item which seems to have drawn attention is a story on Knox’s Myspace page in which an older brother confronts his younger brother over the drugging and rape of a young woman. I haven’t read this story, so I don’t know how graphic or disturbing it is. But I certainly haven’t found any evidence that she had “murderous fantasies”.

Unless you do have such evidence, this looks suspiciously like twisting or even inventing evidence to bolster your own views.

polly // Posted 6 December 2009 at 8:03 pm

There’s a good piece in the Telegraph which discusses the evidence in the case.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/6737900/Amanda-Knox-Guilty…-but-of-what.html

polly // Posted 6 December 2009 at 8:08 pm

And rest assured Kez that if there was ‘plenty of evidence’ of Knox having murderous fantasies, it’d be in the Daily Mail. And it isn’t.

aimee // Posted 6 December 2009 at 9:31 pm

@Louise Bond: I thought exactly the same thing about the Vanessa George thing. Obviously what she did was horrendous, but it was instigated by a manipulative man… whose name I don’t know which just shows how much coverage he got! I’m not defending anyone. The crimes we’re talking about are awful and horrible and disgusting. It’s simply interesting and very illustrative of attitudes towards women in general in our society to note that if these women had been men, their treatment would have been a lot different, and I very much doubt we’d know their names right now.

What we’ve ascertained from this is that violence commited by men is seen as normal and that when a woman is on trial her sexuality is presented as sexual deviance and used to indict her; to the jury and to the public. Also, violence commited by women is seen as more abnormal than male violence and women are treated more harshly than men in the same situations.

I think that’s completely relavent to feminsm.

Kez // Posted 6 December 2009 at 10:42 pm

Polly – yes, plenty of miscarriages of justice here in the UK, and they tend to occur in the most horrendous, most high-profile cases, the ones where the police are under huge pressure to get a conviction and where the public most fervently, and understandably, want to see someone brought to “justice”. Hence we have seen faked evidence (various terrorist cases), unsafe confessions (Stefan Kiszko) and the use of an undercover woman police officer to entice a “confession” out of an innocent man (Colin Stagg). These are just the ones which leap immediately to mind, there have been others.

I am not suggesting for a second that any of this has occurred here. However, it is interesting that the worse the crime, the more unwilling many people seem to be to consider that there may be any issues at all with the investigation, the media reporting or the conviction.

Truth // Posted 6 December 2009 at 10:45 pm

@aimee – I’d wager we’d still know there names, but it may not have been quite as big a story. It is always news when man bites dog, and most murders are not committed by (and most accused murderers are not) young women. So of course when they are, then there’s going to be more media attention, than when it’s another young male gang related murder. A female college student just isn’t your typicaly murder suspect, so it is a man bites dog story that’s out of the ordinary and bound to attract attention. Even when women do kill, it’s almost always their spouse or singnificant other, and this makes this instance all the more out of the ordinary. So I think the press coverage is not surprising. As one of the stories said, legal or not, indicative of murder or not, Knox did herself no favors by doing cartwheels at the police station, acting inconsistently with a grieving roommate the day after the murders, and writing stuff that most would consider a bit odd.

earwicga // Posted 6 December 2009 at 11:04 pm

“they [miscarriage of justice] tend to occur in the most horrendous, most high-profile cases”

How would you know? If a low-profile case carries a miscarriage of justice, who is going to campaign for actual justice?

Martin Lambert // Posted 6 December 2009 at 11:05 pm

May I remind you that the victim was a woman too and that she received even less attention than the three perpetrators.

Amanda Knox was guilty as sin, and the motive for this murder most likely lied in the fact she disapproved of the bourgeois values of her room mate. That makes her a monstrous sociopath.

Her sex habits, she slept casually with seven different men in the course of her first month in Italy, were important in the case as it made it easier to psychologically accept the brutal forensic evidence that pointed to a sex game that went horribly wrong.

Mike // Posted 6 December 2009 at 11:14 pm

Seems to me to be a lot of suggestion of Knox being found guilty because a) she’s a woman, and b) she’s American (or maybe non-Italian). But surely, Sollecito is neither of these and he was found guilty of exactly the same crime.

Miloronic // Posted 6 December 2009 at 11:47 pm

You appear to care more about semiotics than human life!

Shea // Posted 7 December 2009 at 1:14 am

The thing that saddens me in all of this, is how much Meredith Kercher has been invisible through all this and how her family have been sidelined. That’s what grates here. I think a commenter above had it right- the Merediths of the world are the ones my feminism is for.

We have heard incessantly about Amanda Knox and from her family. They are constantly portraying her as a victim of injustice, but they have had virtually nothing to say about the innocent girl, of their daughters’ age who was the real victim of all this. It seems to be the usual, Americans abroad are always the “good guys/girls”/ PR nonsense.

I think this is an issue that goes to the heart of feminism. Do we defend the female murderers, rapists and paedophiles? Do we always portray them as victims (which is what has happened here) even when their victims are women and female children? Or can we have the courage to say, actually women can be as brutal, sadistic and vicious as men, why hold us to a higher moral standard? Why not acknowledge that female monsters are every bit as real? It seems there is a real lack of honesty regarding this, which seems to have more to do with not giving any political ground than furthering equality.

Regarding some of the evidence, I have no real knowledge of the Italian system, but it sounds in procedural aspects very much like a UK trial. There will have been inferences drawn from the knife, from the bra and the DNA evidence, but Knox and the others weren’t convicted on this alone. The same way that if I was found outside a house that had just been broken into, with a crowbar and cuts to my hands, there would be inferences drawn from that and rightly so.

This idea that justice is infallible is absurd. That is how it works in real life- you have suspects, you build a case and that is put before a jury, they decide and they have found her guilty. In essence it is the same all over the world. The chances of finding a murderer with a smoking gun are slim to none.

I agree entirely with the commenter above, the Italian lawyers and plioce and judge know alot more about this than the journalists and bloggers. The people who know alot more are also the jury who will have seen the case presented and heard the evidence (some of which won’t have been revealed to the public). They found, beyond all reasonable doubt that Knox was guilty, so I don’t give a stuff how many men she did or didn’t sleep with, that makes her guilty in my eyes.

Truth // Posted 7 December 2009 at 1:53 am

@earwicga – Terrific point. Who is even going to know? The roughest justice or lack of it is actually not dispensed in high profile cases which are conducted in the limelight but in routine traffic and minor criminal matters, where the state, judges, and prosecutors flout the law and rights of the accused as a matter of course. (I am not talking about Italy in particular.)

“earwicga said:

“they [miscarriage of justice] tend to occur in the most horrendous, most high-profile cases”

How would you know? If a low-profile case carries a miscarriage of justice, who is going to campaign for actual justice?”

earwicga // Posted 7 December 2009 at 3:21 am

@ Martin Lambert

“May I remind you that the victim was a woman too and that she received even less attention than the three perpetrators.”

NO you may not. We live in a misogynistic culture of violence, all day, every day, the whole of our lives – however long or short they may be.

“Amanda Knox was guilty as sin, and the motive for this murder most likely lied in the fact she disapproved of the bourgeois values of her room mate. That makes her a monstrous sociopath.”

Amanda Knox has been found guilty. Many reports question the validity of this judgement and there will be appeals in the Italian courts. Do you have extra special access to this case that gives you the ability to write this rather specious explanation?

“Her sex habits, she slept casually with seven different men in the course of her first month in Italy, were important in the case as it made it easier to psychologically accept the brutal forensic evidence that pointed to a sex game that went horribly wrong.”

NO – sex with seven men is not evidence of murder. Sex with 70 men, or even 700 men is still not evidence of murder. Phillipa has described above in the OP, and others have added to this in the comments, exactly what the purpose of this type of information is to a trial.

polly // Posted 7 December 2009 at 7:30 am

The comments above are prime examples of taking irrelevant factors into account.

Martin Lambert:

“Her sex habits, she slept casually with seven different men in the course of her first month in Italy, were important in the case as it made it easier to psychologically accept the brutal forensic evidence that pointed to a sex game that went horribly wrong. ”

Well no she didn’t actually Martin, she’d slept with a total of seven men by the age of 20. I know people who’ve slept with more males than that by the age of 15, and guess what – they’ve never murdered anyone. Her sex habits are completely irrelevant to the probability of her murdering anyone. And criminal cases, aren’t supposed to be decided on the basis that the accused is well dodgy and the kind of person that probably did it.

Truth:

“As one of the stories said, legal or not, indicative of murder or not, Knox did herself no favors by doing cartwheels at the police station, acting inconsistently with a grieving roommate the day after the murders, and writing stuff that most would consider a bit odd. ”

She isn’t under an obligation to act in a way that makes her look innocent, it is up to them to prove the case against her, not the other way around. Has anyone close to you ever died suddenly of natural causes, let alone a violent death, Truth? You know what – you act oddly. I went shopping the day after my mother died, to distract myself. Are you going to judge from that that I wasnt’ properly grief stricken?

And yet again there WAS no brutal forensic evidence against Knox. There was some against Sollecito, his DNA on Meredith Kercher’s bra clip which at least placed him at the death scene. Though it wasn’t anywhere else, including anywhere else on the bra, and the defence contended that since this item of evidence was only gathered several weeks after, it could have been contaminated.

One other thing (for clarity). Colin Stagg was never convicted, the case against him was thrown out by a judge who reprimanded the police for their tactics. But he was still considered to be under suspicion by most of the press until the real killer was discovered.

reginaldo williams // Posted 7 December 2009 at 8:35 am

I am an American and I don’t believe any of the 3 defendants is telling the truth.

Anna // Posted 7 December 2009 at 8:53 am

Really, Martin? So if she’d slept with them with all due seriousness, she’d be innocent?

rachel // Posted 7 December 2009 at 9:47 am

regardless of any of the other extremely disputed forensic evidence, there was absolutely non of amanda or her boyfriends dna in the room the murder took place, just plenty of Rudys

this fact alone makes this conviction entirely unsafe, as do confessions obtained after 15 hours questioning by police with no solicitor

i have beeen questioned for less than an hour by police over very minor thing that was nothing to do with me, and i was extremely frightened by them, and their aggressive attitude, i am 42, not 20.

having not read a lot about the case, i too intially thought amanda was guilty. Having read around i now feel sick that i could have thought that, although to be fair on me, from the press you do get that idea.

In fact, it is highly unlikely she is guilty you have to read all the evidence and analysis though, luckily a lot more of that is coming through now- please make sure you do a lot of reading before you make your mind up on this one, there is a lot more to the case than meets the eye

Truth // Posted 7 December 2009 at 10:06 am

@polly – no, those aren’t irrelevant factors, although arguably they should be. but any trial lawyer will tell you they are relevant. why do you think young punks on trial are dressed up for the first time ever in new suits? they don’t HAVE to do so, and wearing a suit and tie to court doesn’t prove innocence, or make it harder for the jury to prove guilty, but jurors are human beings, subject to the influence of emotions, like/dislike, and outside influence from their community. so it is incorrect to say these facts are irrelevant. it may be correct to say they should be irrelevant, but that’s a different point, and not the real world.

Elmo // Posted 7 December 2009 at 10:26 am

agree with shea

Lynsey // Posted 7 December 2009 at 11:02 am

The murder aside, the reporting of this has made me angry. You would barely know her boyfriend was on trial from the headlines. It is complete sexism; and that age old story of the killer being a good looking woman, so good copy.

What happened is horrific; but this salacious ‘foxy knoxy’ nonsense is just gross.

gadgetgal // Posted 7 December 2009 at 11:06 am

@Shea – right on!

As to the trial irrelevancies – it is true in this country certain facts, mitigating factors aren’t allowed in court in order to not prejudice the jury against the accused. But bear in mind that this is also one of the reasons we have one of the lowest conviction rates for rape in the entire world, as it’s one of the most difficult crimes to prove based on evidence alone. So when you argue against someone’s past being used during trial remember it’s not as simple an argument as it at first appears, there is no black and white, and there are pros and cons either way. Suffice it to say the jury found it relevant, and they also believed Knox and Sollecito to be lying – not having been there myself I can never say for sure, but although evidence should be considered first and foremost you shouldn’t entirely discount what they felt about their veracity after hearing them speak, either. Even in this country that is considered to be relevant to a case.

Kez // Posted 7 December 2009 at 11:45 am

Truth – well, yes, those factors may influence the jury. But they shouldn’t (and a judge should, if appropriate, be directing the jury to that effect), and if they can indeed be shown to have influenced the decision, then the conviction is clearly unsafe and the door is wide open for an appeal.

I’m not convinced that jurors are necessarily incapable of distinguishing opinion from evidence, anyway. I’ve sat on a jury, and I can assure you that the fact that the young lad on trial turned up in a tracksuit, communicated mainly in grunts and looked bored rigid throughout did not affect my ability to weigh up the evidence.

Admittedly some jurors will undoubtedly be swayed by their own prejudices. But for a trial to be a fair one and for a conviction to be safe, the factors mentioned ARE irrelevant.

People behave in all kinds of different ways under extreme pressure. I seem to remember even Kate McCann being vilified and suspected of all sorts because she seemed “too calm” in the wake of her daughter’s disappearance. As if there is any right or wrong way to behave in such a situation.

Still, if I ever find myself in the middle of a murder investigation, I’ll make sure to try and comport myself appropriately, if I can figure out how on earth that should be.

Denise // Posted 7 December 2009 at 11:58 am

Philippa states in the first sentence of her post that if you weren’t paying attention you would think Amanda Knox had (if she did) committed this horrific crime on her own. Exactly! Whatever the truth of this tragic case, that is the whole point, that the male co-defendants are being largely ignored while the media focus on the perceived weird behaviour of the female defendant. One of the prosecution team more or less admitted that the evidence was unsatisfactory and far from conclusive. That doesn’t necessarily mean Knox is innocent. I don’t know. But the thing is, as Philippa points out, that if you weren’t paying attention you would think Knox was the only defendant in the case.

I didn’t see this as Philippa defending Amanda Knox or being disrespectful to Meredith Kercher and her family at all. On the contrary – focusing on a defendant solely because of their gender and the stereotypical “reactions” some people think the defendant should or should not have, is a massive, dangerous mistake which could actually obscure the truth and deny justice to the victim. That should be called out on, which is what Philippa is rightly doing. I have zero sympathy for Knox if she is guilty, and from what I’ve read (pinches of salt at the ready!) I don’t think I would like to share living space with her. But it is true that most of the focus is on her. The same thing happens with all female defendants who attract publicity. To criticise that is not to deny the horror of the crime, forget the victim or deny her suffering. Not at all.

Kez // Posted 7 December 2009 at 12:19 pm

Oh, and that “horrors! she went shopping!” story? Two alternative versions of that one: Knox and Sollecito heartlessly went shopping for raunchy lingerie in the days after the murder; or alternatively, all her clothes were locked in the flat (the crime scene, obviously) and she needed to buy clean knickers.

I don’t know which is true. But it’s yet another example of how a fundamentally neutral event (person goes to shops) can be twisted by media and public speculation to prove whatever the hell you want it to prove.

Paige // Posted 7 December 2009 at 12:48 pm

Great post, Philippa! The press coverage of this seems to have taken a perverse delight in revisiting the more salacious aspects of the case at every available opportunity.

I realise I’m a bit late to the debate, but I just wanted to say a couple of things.

This is not an either/or situation where we must support either Kercher or Knox. Undoubtedly Kercher’s death is a tragedy, but that has no bearing on whether or not Knox has been treated fairly. And Knox’s guilt is irrelevant; a woman should not have to aspire to a certain standard before she’s earned a feminist defence. We defend her because sexism works against the collective. When one woman is oppressed, we are all oppressed. All women, all victims of patriarchy, everyone. And when we point out instances of sexism, we’re defending all women.

I’ve seen a couple of comments which imply that we have more important things to worry about than Knox’s portrayal in the media. And maybe that’s true. But again, this is not an either/or question. We are not obliged to confine our criticism of patriarchy to a single manifestation of it until we’ve conquered it, and then move on to something else. We’re not waiting until rape never happens before we campaign for better representation of women in the media. We’re doing it now. God, isn’t this the very argument that’s used against feminism? “Why are you worrying about this when there are people starving in Africa?” It’s rubbish when they use it, and it’s rubbish here too. Every woman, every victim of patriarchy, deserves our defence.

Lucifer // Posted 7 December 2009 at 1:12 pm

She did it….she’s been found guilty, there maybe “holes” in the prosecution, but there are on the defense side too.

Italy’s not some third world country and they know how put a trial on, what with the years of Mafia problems etc.

It’s sad that American’s are spouting their outrage simply because she’s one of their own, I suggest they check some of the case facts before declaring love and support for a convicted killer.

Emily // Posted 7 December 2009 at 1:28 pm

I am amazed by some of the comments on this post. I cannot understand how anyone would think Philippa is defending Amanda Knox or not respecting Meredith Kercher and her family. She is merely pointing out that the sexist media coverage gives the impression that Knox was the only person involved in the crime (if she was, which has not been anywhere near conclusively proved, but that is another story).

I also think Denise above makes a really good point about how focusing on the gender of a defendant and the stereotypes surrounding their gender can lead to the truth being obscured, which means the victim may never get justice. And no, criticising that in no way disrespects the victim or detracts from the horror of the crime.

Kate // Posted 7 December 2009 at 2:31 pm

The media coverage is sexist, but it’s also worth pointing out that Knox has been vilified far less than other women convicted of crimes. Yes the reporting has been salacious and focused on her other the male perpetrators, but she’s not been portrayed as the face of evil, as other female criminals tend to be. I’m not sure if perhaps this is because there does seem to be so much doubt over the evidence that the media are reluctant to run with the usual call for hanging and flogging.

Incidentally, I thought one of the juror’s comments to the Observer was fascinating. They basically said that there seemed to be massive of doubt either way. Definitely an odd thing to read, speaking as someone used to the British principle of beyond reasonable doubt.

Bernie // Posted 7 December 2009 at 3:22 pm

This case is bizarre. As long as I understand the only serious evidence against Amanda (besides cartwheels and sex on a train) is a trace of her DNA on the handle of the knife found in her boyfriend’s apartment. And then of course there is her own free testimony given after 48 hours police interrogation.

Old man // Posted 7 December 2009 at 3:47 pm

It seems clear to me that the huge interest in this case is not because of the nature of the crime nor because one of the suspects is a woman (sorry feminists) but because Amanda is an extremely pretty young lady (again, sorry feminists).

It also seems clear that the huge interest is ill-informed interest. I’ve no idea what actually happened that night nor, it would appear, do the jurors who took so very many hours to make up their minds (hardly an indication of an open and shut case).

I’ve no real idea what Amanda is like as a personality, I’ve certainly no idea whether she’s guilty of murder, but my instinct to like her and my interest in the case are both sparked purely because she looks so very attractive. (A shallow reaction perhaps, but normal also).

Now here’s a thought – it depends on us all, or at least lots and lots of people, thinking that court findings could quite easily be wrong – how about a formal judicial system whereby people can appeal if they feel a court verdict is wrong?

We have that already you say? And Amanda’s going to appeal? So wow, that suggests that even after two years of professional legal and police process no-one’s really sure what happened that night? (Apart from one or two people who’ve posted here of course).

Claire // Posted 7 December 2009 at 4:22 pm

I agree with Gadgetgirls initial comment here. The thing that Knox did that Sollecito does not appear to have done is engage with the media. The justice that the Italian courts have doled out is fairly equal. Guede gets the highest sentence – he’s a man, but he’s black. I wonder if blogs for equal opportunities are complaining about that today. Sollecito gets the lowest sentence but only by one year. Frankly, assuming they are all guilty (and I agree with the comments criticising our xenophobia, the Italian courts are pretty good really), I would be inclined to give Knox an extra year just for the extra betrayal of being Meredith Kercher’s flatmate and supposed friend rather than just an acquaintance, for falsely accusing another person of murder and for involving the media circus. Knox’s family have done a lot to create the media interest.

I think we should also be grateful that murder by women is so much more shocking than murder by men. Statistically we are much less likely to murder. Isn’t that a good thing? and doesn’t that make a murder by a woman a more shocking occurence when it does happen? I don’t disagree that the whole sexiness of Knox got out of proportion, but honestly, really, it is not liberated to carry a vibrator and condoms around in a see through bag: it is exhibitionist. I wouldn’t want my kids to sit next to someone on the bus with a bag like that, would you? Or would you seriously think that it was a victorious blow for women that those things were on public display.

I am very pleased that they have both been convicted. Well done to the Italian courts.

Kez // Posted 7 December 2009 at 4:30 pm

Or then again, Old Man, we could have a judicial system based on the perceived attractiveness of the defendant. Why not?

Bernie // Posted 7 December 2009 at 6:05 pm

Despite the Old Man’s suggestion my interest in Amanda’s case is not inspired by her looks but by the fact that I was visiting Perugia only few weeks before Kercher’s murder. My impression was that things are done randomly in Italy — you’d pay 15 euros for the taxi ride from hotel to downtown and 30 euros for the ride back, a train may come to platform 1 or platform 5 or may not come at all… Myself and others fallen victims of this Italian “system” many times but of course not nearly as bad as Amanda.

gadgetgal // Posted 7 December 2009 at 6:43 pm

“you’d pay 15 euros for the taxi ride from hotel to downtown and 30 euros for the ride back, a train may come to platform 1 or platform 5 or may not come at all…”

That happened to me a lot too, when I lived in a place called “London” – unfamiliar places can often seem random and inexplicable, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to the millions of people who live there and are, for the most part, quite happy!

Janet // Posted 7 December 2009 at 6:44 pm

If you’d like to see exhaustive information on the evidence, go to truejustice.org or perugiamurderfile.org. I don’t know of any media site which has shown the extensive nature of the evidence and/or hasn’t reported it completely inaccurately. And yes, people can be convicted on circumstantial evidence, see Scott Peterson, USA. I have no doubt he is guilty, nor do I have any doubt Knox-Sollecito are guilty.

Bernie // Posted 7 December 2009 at 7:36 pm

Gadgetgal — I agree that London seems a bit chaotic to foreigners like me — yet in my experience England (unlike Italy) has rules, law and order. I bet the British court would have never sentenced Amanda on such shaky evidences.

Selene // Posted 7 December 2009 at 8:31 pm

Gadgetgal, I agree with every single word you’ve written — the xenophobia I am finding here terrifies me.

I am Italian and deeply saddened by certain posts. Of course our justice system is not perfect (is there such a thing as a ‘perfect’ justice system?), but certain generalisations are beyond belief — the whole country is corrupt? Please! I’ve frequently read, elsewhere, people wishing Amanda had been trialled in the US, precisely because of the supposed ‘corruption’ in Italian courts. Well, if that had been the case she’d probably be in Death Row by now.

LJ // Posted 7 December 2009 at 10:13 pm

I read the link to the Telegraph article that was put up, having already looked at the Guardian’s writing. I’m not a big fan of the Telegraph, I must admit, but even so a comment made by (I think) a man at the bottom of the article really made me wince:

“Brainwashed, insular, American right-wing whiners can squeal all they like about ‘poor li’l Foxy Knoxy, because none of us care, and the murdering witch ain’t coming home until she’s at least 45 years old. And y’know what? She deserves it absolutely!

“If you don’t want your drug addled, sex-mad daughters to spend their lives in our jails, teach them not to get involved in drugs, violent sex and murder, or keep them at home. Best place for them I’d say.”

This, I fear, is many people’s attitudes to Knox and other “drug-addled, sex-mad” (!!!) women, which has been fostered in and by the media. The entire media coverage has bothered me, and did long before Knox and Sollecito were convicted, but this just crystallised every concern I had about the coverage. It seems to be encouraging the worst kind of attitudes towards female sexuality and its apparent association with deviance.

Also, I do think that sympathy (which, of course, we all feel) for Kercher’s family ties in with this. Repeatedly, this has been referred to, as in the Telegraph article, as “The Amanda Knox Trial”. Surely it is the Meredith Kercher case, in which Knox was just one accused, now one convicted? The sensationalist and prurient focus on Knox in the media has sidelined Kercher, the victim, as well as demonstrating the latent sexism of so many people.

I just hope more people are like the other commentators on the F Word than like the worrying folk on this Telegraph website.

Polly // Posted 7 December 2009 at 10:16 pm

Janet the fact that people CAN be convicted on ‘circumstantial’ evidence in the USA doesn’t mean it’s a good basis to convict people. Here for instance, Barry George was convicted of the murder of Jill Dando on largely circumstantial evidence, (he lived in the neighbourhood, he was a bit of an oddball, other women had complained about him, he was known to have an interest in celebrities) and a tiny bit of forensic evidence which was later overturned and he was freed.

Was there circumstantial evidence against Barry George? Yes. Did he murder Jill Dando? There is no proof that he did, which is why he was (correctly) found not guilty. That’s the way a GOOD criminal legal system operates. Innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s why a jury isn’t allowed to know about other offences a defendant has committed except in very rare cases in the UK.

The stuff I’ve read about the case Janet is in the more respected broadsheet newspapers here, whereas the site you links to talks about ‘suggestive evidence’. Well here’s some REAL evidence. No fingerprints from either Knox or Sollecito were found in the room where Meredith Kercher was murdered, but there were many from Rudy Guede. How do you explain that?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/06/amanda-knox-meredith-kercher-trial-perugia

polly // Posted 7 December 2009 at 10:26 pm

Oh and old man, I agree that a lot of the interest in Knox was salacious. I don’t think that’s why people are troubled by the verdict though. It’s because it seemed a very weak case – I for one was genuinely shocked she was convicted. Personally I don’t ‘like’ Amanda Knox at all, I’ve never met her, but I think from what I’ve (reliably) heard I’d probably dislike her quite a lot if I met her. Doesn’t make her guilty of murder though.

Bernie // Posted 7 December 2009 at 11:38 pm

Sorry to disappoint you Selene but in the US Amanda’s (and Raffaele’s) case would have never made it to the court. Not after the true murderer, Rudy Guede, received the sentence.

Phil Lewis // Posted 8 December 2009 at 8:33 am

The fact is that the other two men have not had massive PR campaigns supported by the mainstream US press and book\film deals trying to capitalise on the real tragedy here i.e. the death by murder of the VICTIM. The other two also did not try and deliberately implicate a totally innocent man. Where are the campaigns and articles for the other two convicted men – where is the film and book deal for Lumumba a man we KNOW is at least one innocent victim of Amanda Knox’s deliberate lies? As for Amanda’s alleged ‘confusion’ over the course of events – a confusion she hoped would explain away the many inconsistencies in her story – she claimed her confusion were caused by the pressures of her long police interrogation. Thing is that interrogation was over a LONG TIME ago she has had time to ‘unconfuse’ herself yet still she was unable to come up with credible accounts of her actions on the night of the murder and the aftermath up to the point of her arrest. No one cares about the other two men convicted – no one cared about Lumumba either until it was proved he couldn’t have been present at the murder. If Knox has been demonised she has also been glamorised and when you even have Amanda Knox and her own family trying their best to court the publicity and indeed profit from it – I think your article entirely missed the point.

gadgetgal // Posted 8 December 2009 at 10:27 am

“The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that “circumstantial evidence is intrinsically no different from testimonial [direct] evidence” (Holland v. United States, 348 U.S. 121, 75 S. Ct. 127, 99 L. Ed. 150 [1954]).” (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law)

Nearly all criminal cases in the UK, USA or anywhere else are either partly or wholly based on circumstantial evidence – most criminals will make sure not to generate direct evidence, which only covers physical evidence (easy to cover up or remove); documentary evidence (not usually available); or first-hand witness testimony (also not usually available). Even scientific evidence is mostly considered to be circumstantial, as it requires a jury to make a connection between the circumstance and the fact in issue. Obviously circumstantial evidence is not as good as direct evidence, but if we were to say it should always be disregarded then most crimes would go unpunished and most murderers, rapists, paedophiles, burglars, muggers, etc. etc. would still be wandering around the streets doing their thing!

And can we please stop with the “my legal system is better than yours” thing? I grew up in the States and believe me, justice is great there if you have money, no mental or physical disabilities, you live in an affluent area, you are white and you live in the right state depending upon the nature of the crime and how they see it in law (a lot of laws are decided state by state, not for the whole country – weird, yeah? what a crazy legal system!). People seem to just be making judgements based upon one or two cases only and their natural inclination to see other countries as being lesser than their own.

Maybe number 3 on the list of comments that aren’t allowed should be expanded a little, I’ve always considered xenophobia to be akin to racism, but I’m getting the impression I’m in a minority.

Kez // Posted 8 December 2009 at 10:43 am

Phil… yes, I agree she has been glamorised to an extent, but I don’t think you can blame her family for “doing their best to court publicity” when they believe she is innocent and are campaigning accordingly. I’m not sure how do you do that without “courting publicity”. I think most people, if their family member or friend had been (they believed) wrongly convicted, would want that message to be spread as widely as possible. Of course, some people have more access to the means of doing so than others, due to resources, knowledge, contacts and – in this case – the facts of the case which apparently make it particularly newsworthy.

Bernie // Posted 8 December 2009 at 1:12 pm

Phil Lewis — You may like to know that even hard-line criminals and terrorists can get confused and scared during 14 hours police interrogation, needless to say about 20 yo girl. Amanda herself claimed that she was threatened during the interrogation, police officers were shouting at her and even hit her in the head… While the court ordered Amanda to pay 40,000 euros to Patrick Lumumba — it is not clear that she accused him deliberately. If she didn’t know the killer, she may have sincerely suspected Lumumba… Lumumba knew her and Meredith and he was the one who asked Amanda not to come to work that night. Apparently, police had similar thoughts as they arrested Lumumba at the same time as Amanda and Raffaele. If the police had it’s own “vision” of the events — they may have pressed Amanda to testify against Lumumba, or at least point her that way in the course of interrogation.

squinen // Posted 8 December 2009 at 1:16 pm

I think one of the problems here is not whether or not Amanda Knox was genuinely guilty of the crime but in how we view rights and values. Do we take it from some of the more “I hope she rots” posts that the right to be free from sexist and misogynist stories in the press is only for “good” people?

That’s the tricky thing about rights and principles; It’s easy to say that people we like or feel sympathy for should have their rights strenuously defended, not so much when their actions disgust us. Take, for example, the baby P case, there is a legal precedent for anonymity for the mother is naming her could endanger her life,yet many people who strongly believe in human rights still think that it was right to name her and give her much harsher sentences than those in comparable cases.

It is a difficult call but if we only agree with rights for good people then who decides who the good people are? The Knox case is the same. The issue here is the way that the press have dealt with a femal defendant. what she may or may not have done is not at all relevant to the way she has been treated.

Bernie // Posted 8 December 2009 at 1:50 pm

gadgetgal — there was nothing xenophobic in my criticism of the Italian legal system. I simply compared it with the Italian train system widely known to be chaotic and unreliable. Only hard-line Italian nationalists could interpret this as xenophobia — they are welcome to compare the US legal system with General Motors or smth.

As to the court proceedings — I’m not a lawyer but I thought the court should at least come up with some motives before convicting someone. As long as I can see, no clear motives are shown in Amanda’s case and Raffaele’s motives are based on some spooky vampire comics conspiracy. Circumstantial and physical evidences all point at Rudy Guede and I suppose he would have been the only convict if police could capture him before Amanda and Raffaele.

gadgetgal // Posted 8 December 2009 at 4:28 pm

@squinen – I’d agree with you if that was the problem I have with it. I don’t have a problem with defending everyone’s rights, good or bad, rights are rights – I just think, at the end of a case like this, to immediately jump to the defence of the perpetrator of a sexist crime as opposed to the victim seems slightly askew. Knox has been as vociferously defended as she has been reviled by the courts, the media and the public at large – seriously, what happened to Meredith Kercher? Why is she not considered to be as important? Or are we so inured now to sex crimes and murder that they don’t even concern us any more, but bad press does?

And as for the Baby P case I agreed with the decision to not name her for the protection of the other children and the other pending court cases (in fact I had to delete posts on my facebook wall that people left naming her) – I don’t really think it’s comparable since it wasn’t really the mother’s rights that were being taken into consideration, it was about the rights of the children to anonymity, really.

joaninha // Posted 8 December 2009 at 8:29 pm

I agree with the article. It’s not defending the killers but rightly pointing out the sexist nature of the coverage. You only need to do a google search on “Amanda Knox” and “Raffaele Sollecito” to see who got more coverage.

I think the media focuses on female criminals because it is more shocking as it goes against society’s expectations of women. When a woman commits such an awful crime we shake our heads and ask “How could she do this?” more so than we would for a man. It’s insulting to both sexes for different reasons.

MC // Posted 9 December 2009 at 1:16 am

The usual one-sided (and ill informed) feminist rhetoric. Knox was given one year more than Sollecito because she had falsely accused Patrice Lumumba of taking part in the murder, causing him to be incarcerated for two weeks. You also failed to mention that the other male defendant Rudy Guede got a 30-year sentence which is four years more than Knox – was that ‘sexist ‘ and ‘misogynist’ too?

Claire // Posted 9 December 2009 at 8:54 am

Thanks Gadgetgirl, Phil Lewis and Selene, I agree with your comments and glad to read you fighting your corner. Bernie: you don’t know that this wouldn’t have got to the US courts. We do know that the death penalty applies in certain states in the US, whereas it does not apply in Italy. Most legal systems (Britain included) do not require the discovery of a motive to establish if a crime has been committed. Many crimes are motiveless – consider manslaughter or corporate manslaughter.

I am more interested in the debate about whether the attention Knox got was self-inflicted and justified because of her choice to involve the media, falsely accuse someone else and to fail to deliver at any point (not just under interrogation) a consistent story or whether it is sexist. Depends on who’s commenting and how emotive they are being, but we have certainly seen both sorts of reporting.

I believe they are guilty. But that’s irrelevant. What is more relevant is that I respect the decision of the Italian court, the body that heard all the evidence, followed the procedures and convicted.

Knox shouldn’t be defended any more. She has been found guilty by a good legal system.

I know I am being sexist to hold this view (even though it comes from CSA, rape and DV survivorship and is understandable), but my faith in women in general is higher than my faith in men. We EXPECT men to commit sex crimes, sadly. We don’t expect women to. If they do, people are interested because violent sexual murder by women is so rare. That wouldn’t merit Knox getting the extra year, but her lying, involving the media and framing someone else does.

earwicga // Posted 9 December 2009 at 9:24 am

Ooh look, a troll that hasn’t bothered to read the OP or the comments. Thanks for your contribution MC – very enlightening..not!

gadgetgal // Posted 9 December 2009 at 9:55 am

@MC – Wow, I didn’t know we HAD a feminist rhetoric – although since we’re all arguing different view points using various well-researched arguments I’m not sure how that would classify as “one-sided” OR “ill-informed”, but since you’re obviously more aware of the underlying evil in our intent then I guess that’s just me being stoopid again!

And to everyone else here: whether we agree or not it’s nice to get reasoned debate without having to cater to too many weirdos – I have a lot of respect for people who form opinions that come from a place of good intentions, even if they are different to mine :)

Claire // Posted 9 December 2009 at 10:02 am

Actually, MC, if you go back over the blog you’ll see that I pointed out that Guede (who is black) got longer than the other two and asked for comment on that issue. So not only were you unnecessarily offensive, you were also wrong. I think you make a good point about Guede. Why did he get those extra years?

BrendaBear // Posted 9 December 2009 at 12:34 pm

I think joaninha’s post is kind of ironic:

“It’s not defending the killers but rightly pointing out the sexist nature of the coverage. You only need to do a google search on “Amanda Knox” and “Raffaele Sollecito” to see who got more coverage.

160 mentions of Knox on this page, 22 of Sollecito, 14 of Guede!

Bernie // Posted 9 December 2009 at 1:56 pm

I believe Knox got longer sentence than Sollecito because the court believed she was the one to stab the victim (because of her DNA on the knife in Raffaele’s apartment which may have been a murder weapon). For false accusations she was ordered to pay Lumumba 40,000 euro.

Of course, this may be interpreted as “false accusation” only if she was the killer — otherwise she simply pointed out at the person she had reasons to suspect (see my earlier post).

Lara // Posted 9 December 2009 at 2:39 pm

The usual one-sided (and ill informed) feminist rhetoric. Knox was given one year more than Sollecito because she had falsely accused Patrice Lumumba of taking part in the murder, causing him to be incarcerated for two weeks. You also failed to mention that the other male defendant Rudy Guede got a 30-year sentence which is four years more than Knox – was that ‘sexist ‘ and ‘misogynist’ too?

The main thrust of this piece is examining the media coverage of the defendants as opposed to the sentancing given. Do keep up.

B. Adu // Posted 9 December 2009 at 3:13 pm

I cannot in all honesty say the convictions of Knox and Sollecito are safe, whether they were involved or not.

But I think we should be careful at with any contempt for the Italian Justice system based on this case alone, regardless of what may or may not have been it’s defects.

polly // Posted 10 December 2009 at 9:41 pm

Phil Lewis: a lot of people confess to stuff they haven’t done under interrogation, that’s why the police and criminal evidence act was introduced in the UK, to stop the police beating confessions out of people. Ask anyone who used to be in the police about 40 years ago.

Stefan Kizsko confessed to a crime he could not have committed for one, and spent 17 years in prison, dying a year after release.

I’m not saying Amanda Knox is innocent, but I am saying that from everything I’ve read I would have been reluctant to convict her of murder on the evidence presented.

Lara: there was plenty of evidence of Guede’s guilt. His fingerprints were all over the room where Meredith Kercher was murdered and there was forensic evidence he’d sexually assualted her.

Bunc // Posted 13 December 2009 at 9:47 pm

Interesting article although I don’t agree with the suggestion that what has happened to Amanda Knox really has much to do with her being female. I think the reaction to her has much more to do with some very odd behaviour that she displayed after the murder.

Women are certainly treated differently overall in the criminal justice system though – sometimes more harshly than men and other times much more leniently – but certainly not the same.

Melanie // Posted 16 December 2009 at 2:43 pm

More of the same. The Torygraph, reporting on Vanessa George’s sentencing this morning, apparently finds the fact that she had casual sex with a number of adult men relevant to the story, as evidence of her general “depravity”:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/6819500/Vanessa-Georges-online-obsession-with-fellow-paedophile-Colin-Blanchard.html

Obviously, I don’t think George deserves any sympathy or defence, but this gratuitous reporting of the sex lives of female criminals/defendants like Knox and George is worrying and reflects badly on all of us, as it implies that any woman with a large sexual appetite (for adult men!) is deviant and likely to go on to murder people or sexually abuse children.

polly // Posted 16 December 2009 at 8:24 pm

Whilst I do think Vanessa George’s behaviour is horrific, and would in no way defend it, I was still amazed by the Mail’s (where else) irrelevant mention that she was “18 stone” in a report on her.

So 18 stone = paeodophile now then? Would she not have committed any crimes if she’d been a size 10?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1235446/Vanessa-George-sent-naked-pictures-daughter-paedophile-ring.html

Erin N // Posted 20 May 2010 at 3:07 am

I agree with you about how her sexual history is unrelated to the murder. I am glad you pointed this out. It is a good point.

However, there is nothing wrong with writing stories about rape, just like how writing books about the Holocaust doesn’t make you a Nazi, because stories are stories, a.k.a. FICTION. Maybe she wrote stories about rape because rape pisses her off. I did that. I am disgusted that people don’t seem to know the difference between reality and fiction enough to know that writing a story about rape doesn’t make you a “likely rapist.” Her story–I read parts of it–doesn’t even seem to be portraying rape in a pornagraphic way. It’s more like a “thoughtful” story.

Furthermore, there is nothing unusual about joking about Nazis. People do it all the time. Joking about being a Nazi also has nothing to do with the murder, unless you can prove that Naziism was somehow involved in the murder.

Also, cartwheels have NOTHING to do with murder. Cartwheels are not even suggestive of an agressive personality.

Personally, I don’t think she was referring to herself as Foxy Knoxy because of her soccer moves that happened twelve years ago– I think she was trying to be cute and clever.

I don’t think they gave her an unfair sentence, though; she got an extra year because she lied and said Patrick Lamumba was the killer.

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