Identity

The Media Cast Me as a Sex-Crazed She-Devil—An Identity I Still Can't Escape

In this episode of The Scarlet Letter Reports, Amanda Knox shares her story of being vilified and shamed by the media, which began when she was arrested for murder 10 years ago.

You can watch the full episode of The Scarlet Letter Reports, a new series in which I interview women who have been villainized by the media, here.

I’m Amanda Knox. In this episode of The Scarlet Letter Reports, I tell the story of how my own character was assassinated in the media when I was arrested and put on trial for a crime I didn’t commit.

In 2007, I was just another twenty-year-old college student studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. One night, a local burglar named Rudy Guede broke into the apartment I shared with three other young women, and murdered the only one of us who was home at the time—Meredith Kercher. For the next eight years, Meredith’s murder made international headlines, but for all the worldwide attention the case received, few people have ever heard of Rudy Guede. That’s because the investigators, prosecutors, media, and public focused their attention, instead, on me.

My boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, and I were hastily arrested. The prosecution and tabloid media cast me as a femme fatale, a sex-crazed she-devil who murdered my roommate in a drug- and/or jealousy-fueled rage during a sex game gone wrong. It didn’t matter that I had zero history of violence or mental illness or criminal behavior, and that exactly zero DNA evidence placed me at the scene of the crime. The prosecution and the tabloids had already created “Foxy Knoxy”—a figure onto which people could project their fears and fantasies, particularly those surrounding female sexuality, and that was enough to convict us.

Raffaele and I survived four years in prison and eight years on trial. In March 2015, we were found innocent by the Italian Supreme Court. To this day, I combat harassment and attacks on my character on a regular basis. I get through it by thinking hard about the forces that lead to our dehumanization, how those forces affect other individuals in similar situations, and what we can do to stop our lives and our identities from being stolen from us.

You can watch my full story now on Facebook Watch.