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  Life   More Features  17 Sep 2018  Jack the Ripper's victims were not prostitutes

Jack the Ripper's victims were not prostitutes

THE ASIAN AGE
Published : Sep 17, 2018, 4:51 pm IST
Updated : Sep 17, 2018, 4:51 pm IST

Historian claims sexist Victorian policemen unfairly labelled the working class women who were murdered.

The Ripper killed his victims in Whitechapel, east London, between September and November 1888, but his identity has never been discovered.
 The Ripper killed his victims in Whitechapel, east London, between September and November 1888, but his identity has never been discovered.

A historian has now claimed that Jack the Ripper's murder victims may not have been prostitutes.

Dr Hallie Ruevenhold argues that ‘sexist’ attitudes of policemen at the time and researcher during the years since the murders have led to inaccurate beliefs about the women who were brutally killed.

 

The historian, who is writing a history of the five known victims - Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly - said the women had working-class jobs as servants and laundry maids.

The Ripper killed his victims in Whitechapel, east London, between September and November 1888, but his identity has never been discovered.

According to Dr Rubenhold, the Ripper targeted poor working class women such as servants and laundry maids - contrary to the long-held belief that his victims were sex workers.

Dr Rubenhold believed the victims have been “dehumanised for 130 years”.

Talking to The Sunday Telegraph, she said, "We glorify the Ripper, we have a whole industry based around Jack the Ripper, a fascination with him, an unsolved murder mystery going on for 130 years.”

 

She went on to add that while people have fixated on the Ripper, no one ever really thought about the women, who they were when they were killed.

Dr Rubenhold says at least three of the women were not prostitutes - and says there is no evidence those who had previously been paid for sex were soliciting when they were murdered.

The historian found that one of the women was living in the residence of a friend of the Prince of Wales - before moving to a rehabilitation centre for alcoholism.

Another victim moved to London from Sweden in search of a better life and spent most of her time running a coffee shop in Poplar with her husband.

 

While for decades numerous enthusiasts have tried to solve the mystery of the Ripper's identity. Rubenhold says that people have never questioned 19th century orthodoxy - the world in which they were killed was a world in which women were disrespected and treated as second-class citizens.

"They were poor, working-class women - one of them was more middle-class actually - they got married and had children, they were mothers and they were wives,” she says, adding, “When they fell on hard times they worked in laundry, they worked as servants … but the accepted narrative is that all five were prostitutes and that he was a prostitute killer.”

 

“These are five women who have been completely dehumanised for 130 years by our culture. We need to redress the balance".

Tags: jack the ripper, prostitutes, victims, whitechapel, viral and trending, sex workers, jack the ripper victims, dehumanisation, ripper identity unsolved, patriarchy