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Why I Sympathize With Amanda Knox

I recently watched the new Netflix documentary on Amanda Knox, a young American woman accused of murdering her roommate while studying abroad in Italy. While the documentary doesn’t take any clear bias, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for this young woman.  

When I first heard about this story years ago, I will freely admit that I thought this girl was straight up weird, and super straight up guilty.

However, after taking many media bias classes in university, and analyzing the actual evidence in this case – I think I judged Amanda way too prematurely, and very wrongly.  

Here’s some backstory: 2007  

– In Perugia, Italy, Knox shared an apartment with two Italian women and Meredith Kercher – the deceased.

– Amanda worked at a local bar called Le Chic (owned by Patrick Lumumba).

– Amanda had moved to Italy hoping to experience new culture and possibly even find love… all of the romances that Italy seems to promise for young women.

– Knox spent very little time with her English roommate Meredith.

– An semi-acquaintance of the girls, Rudy Guede, often spent time with the men who lived in Knox’s basement – she therefore somewhat knew who Guede was.

– The girls went to a concert one night where they met Raffaele Sollecito (23), who quickly became Knox’s boyfriend.

– On November 1st, Kercher was alone in the house, Knox was at Sollecito’s house.

– On November 2nd, Knox called Meredith but she didn’t answer. She then called her other roommates and reportedly said she was worried about Meredith.

– Amanda went to her apartment and noticed the front door was open, saw blood on the bathroom floor, and saw that Meredith’s room was locked.

– Amanda called Sollecito to come over and the two tried to break into Meredith’s room.

– They then called the police claiming their was a break-in and Meredith’s door was locked. – The couple said they were concerned that Meredith had not been answering her phone.

– Police knocked the door down and found Meredith stabbed and dead on the ground.

– Amanda and Raffaele only dated 5 days before being accused of Meredith’s murder.  

When media caught news of this murder, and began to take footage of the crime scene, reporters and authorities noticed that some things weren’t adding up.  

In the eyes of the detectives, and the viewers of live footage, roommate Amanda wasn’t acting the way the world thought she should be – she was making out with her boyfriend, and seemed to be joking around – right outside the crime scene… Then, when the media took note of both her beauty and sex appeal, Amanda’s European adventure quickly became a nightmare.  

Over the next few days, police repeatedly interviewed Knox, concerned about her whereabouts during the murder – her text with her boss Patrick Lumumba suggested she was called into work – but she claimed her shift was cancelled and she had stayed with her boyfriend the entire night.  

Later, Knox testified that she was deeply pressured in these police interviews to admit to things that weren’t true (that maybe she had in fact left the house and gone out that night) – then claiming she was traumatized/confused and that such a claim was falsely admitted.  

In addition, Knox claims she changed her story because she was physically hit by a police officer and was pushed and pushed to find answers to questions she didn’t have answers to. Knox also claims she requested a lawyer (but was threatened out of it), that she was denied food and water, and also wasn’t permitted to use the bathroom. Then, out of fear and trauma, she “spontaneously” claimed that maybe Lumumba had killed Meredith.  

Knox, her boyfriend and Lumumba were all taken into custody and charged with murder. Lumumba was soon let off because his alibi of working at the bar that night was air-tight… which consequently made Amanda look even more like a liar.  

Please Note: There was no credible evidence (DNA or otherwise) that puts Amanda or her boyfriend at the murder scene. However, THERE WAS bloodstained fingerprints  – which belong to Rudy Guede – a man who later even admitted to being there (without Knox or the boyfriend)!  


And yet, all three of them were convicted; – prosecutors were convinced that they had all conspired to kill Meredith together during a dangerous and promiscuous sex act – an assumption based on news of Amanda’s leaked private sex life with Sollecito.  


– It wasn’t until 2009 that Amanda and her boyfriend were acquitted – and Amanda finally was able to return to the USA and her family.  

– BUT THEN, in 2013, Italy’s highest court ordered a retrialre-trial.

– In March 2015, Knox and Sollecito AGAIN were acquitted AGAIN..  

– The Supreme Court of Cassation ruled that the case “‘was without foundation’.” The case cited, “glaring errors,” “investigative amnesia,” “guilty omissions,” and contaminated evidence.  


– In the end Amanda spent a total of 4 years in prison for a crime she was found NOT GUILTY of committing.  

So, from what I’ve learned, it seems that the media played a huge role in ruining Amanda Knox’s ‘normal’ life… mainly due to her sexual past. WHAT THE F?!  

Because of the societal obsession with shock-value, Amanda became the perfect stand-in for the “abroad murderess” – the “‘sex obsessed seductress”’ – the girl who has a pretty face but a deadly mind.  

She was someone interesting and different – a more ‘unique’ and rare type of criminal to blame for a heinous crime in a picturesque town.  

The media became obsessed because she, as murder, was so unexpected, and therefore so very dangerous… the ‘girl next door’ who you never saw coming.

She was the perfect villain in a plot-twist thriller.  

Perugia prosecutor Giuliano Mignini seems to have fed off of this trope and is likely the root of many of this case’s disturbances (as I have gathered from information given in the documentary). With no credible evidence, Mignini crafted a case based on satanic sex crimes – of which he believed had been led by sexy foreigner Amanda Knox.  

From my understanding, I believe that this old school, detective-novel-obsessed man, decided for himself that Amanda was the root of a conspiracy, and quickly led the media towards it’s “FOXY KNOXY” frenzy before blame could be placed upon anyone else.  

This is a case of absolute tunnel vision.  

Amanda was an easy target because she was socially awkward, not an Italian native, naïve, young, and discovering her own sexuality as a vibrant young woman… and this is exactly where I begin to sympathize with her.  

Amanda was publicly attacked and tormented for years and years over her online profiles and due to her sexual history.  

We need to take a second and reflect upon how wronged this woman was by international media.  

When Amanda was in jail, her personal diary was taken and released to the media – used to generate scandal – secrets sold for HUGE $$$$$.  

Within that very private journal, Amanda had listed 7 names of men she had slept with – due only to the fact that she was SCARED OF HAVING HIV – a fear that was installed within her by guards who had lied to her as a form of emotional abuse.  


In addition to that, when the media got ahold of the sex-based information in this diary, – Amanda was branded a sex-obsessed slut who deserved no mercy.  

*Let me just quickly remind you that the amount of people you sleep with has no influence on who you are as a person, nor is it ANYONE’S business how many people Amanda Knox had slept with prior to her roommate’s death.  

Yet, the media created a false identity for a normal girl – all because the “Amanda Knox Story” was a story that would sell BIG across seas.  

Amanda was violated by the media because people are attracted to “good girl gone bad” stories. They’re attracted to the beautiful who fall into crime, who turn out flawed and not so perfect. They’re obsessed with the crazy girlfriend. They’re attracted to the ultimate international scandal.  

And because of this obsession – an innocent woman had her reputation ruined and spent years of her youth behind bars.  

So, why do I have sympathy for Amanda?  

That’s easy.  

It’s because the more I examine this case, the more I realize that as a travelling journalist, I very easily could have ended up in her same shoes.  

You can watch the full documentary on Netflix now.


Kellie Anderson is incredibly proud and excited to be Western Ontario's Campus Correspondent for the 2015-2016 year. She is currently in her fourth year of Media Information & Technoculture, and has an overflowing passion for creative writing. While Kellie loves to get wildly creative while writing fictional short stories, she has found that her true passion is in shedding light towards hard-hitting topics like Mental Illness - she believes that writing is the best healer. Kellie has some pretty BIG plans for her future and can't wait to graduate as a Her Campus Alumni! You can contact her at kellieanderson@hercampus.com.
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