Amanda Knox: An advocate for the wrongfully convicted
WASHINGTON: Amanda Knox describes herself on her website as a journalist, public speaker, and author.
But the 31-year-old woman from Seattle, Washington, lists one description before the others: “exoneree.”
The reference is to the defining moment of her life: her arrest and eventual acquittal for the gruesome 2007 murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy.
Knox spent four years in an Italian prison over the killing. She was later cleared along with her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito.
Knox, who was a 20-year-old exchange student at the time of the murder, on Thursday returned to Italy for the first time since her acquittal to speak at a conference on wrongful convictions in Modena.
Since her release, Knox has written a book about her experience – “Waiting To Be Heard: A Memoir” – been the subject of a Netflix documentary, and become a public advocate for inmates who have been wrongfully imprisoned.
“Amanda now works to shed light on the issues of wrongful conviction, truth-seeking, and public shaming, and to inspire people towards empathy and perspective,” her website says.
Knox hosts a VICE/Facebook show called “The Scarlet Letter Reports” about the public vilification of women and a Sundance AMC podcast, “The Truth About True Crime,” which examines notorious murders.
In an episode of “The Scarlet Letter Reports,” Knox spoke about how her arrest and subsequent trial affected her life.
“I don’t get to be anonymous, ever,” she said. “I think that’s a thing that people don’t think about very often because most people get to be anonymous sometime. I don’t.
“I don’t get to swipe on Tinder,” Knox said. “I don’t get to wear a T-shirt with a skull-and-crossbones on it. I don’t get to make a dark joke.
“I could not be certain that someone befriending me wasn’t doing so to get to me,” she said.
Knox said the most challenging thing since her ordeal had been “finding love.”
“And feeling like someone loved me for me,” she said.
Knox currently lives in Seattle, her hometown, where she attended the University of Washington, with her fiance Christopher Robinson, a novelist, and their two cats.
Knox said it has been a struggle to put the past behind her because of the lurid headlines generated by the murder, described in court as a drug-fuelled sex game gone awry.
The tabloids seized on her nickname “Foxy Knoxy” – earned on the football pitch – giving it a sexual connotation to fit the narrative.
“What I had to do was juggle being the Amanda Knox in the tabloids and the Amanda Knox just doing her thing, living her life,” she said.
Kercher’s half-naked body was found on November 2, 2007, in a back room of the apartment, she and Knox shared in Perugia.
The 21-year-old had been stabbed 47 times and had her throat slashed. Police also found signs of sexual assault.
Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast-born drifter, and small-time drug dealer was eventually convicted of the murder and is serving a 16-year sentence in an Italian prison.