Here in the states, Italian actress Asia Argento is recognized for her bravery as one of the first women to expose Harvey Weinstein. But in her country, Argento has been dismissed as a lying “prostitute,” who “cares more for her career than her dignity.” I’ve followed the coverage closely because it mirrors how I was treated.
Back in 2007, the Italian media plundered my social media and diaries, leaking my sexual history as evidence of my psychopathy. Everything I did—showering; kissing my boyfriend; and crying, or not crying, at all the wrong times—was viewed as akin to a confession. I didn’t act like a grieving friend “should”; therefore, I must have done it.
Now it’s Argento’s turn. The Italian media dug up her work and spun it to vilify her. A column headlined “First they give it away, then they whine and pretend to repent” is capped by an image of Argento, seminude, licking a dog’s face. It’s an eye-popping scene from the 2007 comedy Go Go Tales, but out of context, it’s jarring—incriminating, even. The 20 years Argento took to report the alleged crime, her continued work in the industry, even the abuse itself—oral sex performed on her, not the reverse—has been used against her. She didn’t act like a rape victim “should”; therefore, she must be lying.
But what so many think of as bizarre in victims’ behavior is defined by a hypothetical ideal reaction to trauma most people have never experienced. There is no “normal” response to a friend’s murder or to being raped. When we insist on holding victims to a standard of “common sense,” we set them up to be disbelieved. For our failure to fit expectations, the Italian press labeled me the whore who sleeps her way to committing murder and Argento the whore who sleeps her way to the top. These stereotypes delegitimize our victimhood and only serve to reinforce the power that actual predators, like Weinstein, still have.
Amanda Knox is a writer and activist; in 2007, Knox was accused of murdering her roommate while studying abroad in Italy; she was acquitted in 2011.
This package appears in the March issues of Esquire and Marie Claire.
The Perfumer Behind Last Year's Most Talked-About Fragrance Just Released Another Perfect Scent
Aqua Media Cologne forte embodies a feeling of balance and harmony.
By Deena Campbell
'Yellowface' Is Our June Book Club Pick
Read an excerpt from R.F. Kuang's latest novel, here, then dive in with us throughout the month.
By Brooke Knappenberger
I Scoured the Summer Runways—Here Are the Six Shoe Trends Actually Worth Buying
Hit the ground running this season.
By Emma Childs
Half of the Shondaland dream team, the woman whose work brings 'Bridgerton' to life, is one of the most influential producers in Hollywood. And she’s ready for everyone to know it.
By Jessica M. Goldstein
Payal Kadakia Is Finally Sharing Her Secret Sauce to Success
In her new book, LifePass, the ClassPass founder gives you the tools to write your own success story.
By Neha Prakash
The Power Issue
Our November issue is all about power—having it, embracing it, and dressing for it.
By Marie Claire Editors
J. Smith-Cameron Is in Control
She’s Logan Roy’s right hand. She’s Roman’s ‘mommy girlfriend.’ And she’s a fan favorite. Here, the Succession star takes us behind the scenes of Gerri’s boardroom power plays.
By Jessica M. Goldstein
What Makes an Olympic Moment?
In the past it meant overcoming struggle...and winning. But why must athletes suffer to be inspiring?
By Megan DiTrolio
'The Other Black Girl' Gets Real About Racism in the Workplace
"It really hits home how many spaces don’t allow Black women to really show up as their authentic selves."
By Rachel Epstein
Melissa Moore's 'Life After Happy Face' Podcast Looks at Killers Through New Eyes
The true crime expert and daughter of the Happy Face Killer opens up to Marie Claire about destigmatizing the label of 'criminal's kid.'
By Maria Ricapito
Simone Biles on Her GOAT Leotard: Don't Be Ashamed of Being Great
The world's greatest gymnast shares how she takes care of her mental health, the road to Tokyo, and the story behind her epic new leotard style.
By Megan DiTrolio