How many of you guys have been following this case? It's been in the news a lot recently, and the verdict was delivered a few days ago. For those who don't know, it was a murder case in Italy, for a young British student was murdered - you can read about it here. In short, here's the summary:
Three people were accused of the murder, and now all three have been sentenced to jail. But for the duration of the trial, the majority of press coverage and focus has been on Amanda Knox, a young female American student.Meredith Kercher was a 21-year-old British student who was part of a university exchange programme to Italy. On 2 November 2007, her body was discovered by Italian police at the house that she shared with other students in Perugia, when tracing mobile phones discovered in a nearby garden. She was found lying partially clothed under a duvet in her locked bedroom, her windpipe crushed and her throat partially slashed.
On 6 November 2007, police arrested three suspects: Patrick Diya Lumumba, Congolese owner of a local bar; Amanda Knox, an American student; and Raffaele Sollecito, an Italian student (2-week boyfriend of Knox). Lumumba was later released and exonerated.
An arrest warrant was issued against Rudy Hermann Gu?d?, an Ivorian long-term resident of Perugia, based on DNA and fingerprint evidence found on the victim's body. On 20 November 2007 he was arrested in Germany, and on 6 December extradited to Italy. The three suspects were held in custody in Perugia and were charged with murder, sexual assault and theft.
Now, what I find really appalling is the way that this woman has been portrayed in the press. More specifically, the way her sexuality has been constantly used as a means of discrediting her. I've read so many articles now, in newspapers and on news websites, which go on about the fact that she's had multiple lovers and owned a vibrator, and how apparently, this makes her a person with "loose morals". I have a huge problem with this. If a man is arrested for a murder, the number of people he's screwed and the fact that he may keep lotion or other masturbation aids around his home are NEVER mentioned. So why has this constantly come up in the case of Knox? Why is a woman's sexuality used to demonise her?
The case didn't have a whole lot of hard evidence, and frankly I find the entire thing really disturbing. I can't shake the feeling that this woman was convicted as a result of this smear campaign against her, especially in a country like Italy, which still has a lot of male chauvinism. Many news articles describe Knox as "having the face of an angel, and the eyes of a killer" - how is this sort of language going to ensure a fair trial and a fair view in the public eye here?
I remember a while back there was a thread here where the issue of trial by jury came up, and someone, I think it may have been Octavianus or MarryO+LewyG, said something to the effect that verdicts being decided by people who have no idea about the procedures of criminal law are a really bad idea, which is something I'd never really given much thought to before, but I now tend to agree with. This entire case really demonstrates this. When people are judging a woman's character by her sexuality, and using such emotionally-charged crap like "killer's eyes", how can we expect a fair verdict? Especially when they have so little evidence to go on in the trial. And why is it still so unacceptable in society for a woman to be so sexually independent and adventurous? Why are we still dealing with that stupid old guys-that-sleep-around-are-studs-but-girls-who-sleep-around-are-sluts crap in this day and age? The association of sexuality and morality is a religious one, and should NOT be used in a court of law.