Speaking Out For The Victims Of Jack The Ripper
I’m not sure if the lady who is the subject of this linked article would like me very much. She doesn’t seem to have a lot of use for Ripperologists, of which I am one. Also, I think she’s wrong. Based on my own studies, I believe there were more than five victims of the Ripper. I do agree with her, however, that it is unfortunate the way the victims have largely been forgotten by history while ol’ Gentleman Jack has been romanticized, made into a Rock star. I wrote a series of monologues entitled THE BELLES OF WHITECHAPEL: THE VICTIMS OF JACK THE RIPPER SPEAK, in which I tried to give the victims back their identities, and their voices. Almost everyone who has seen the production, and this includes all the women who’ve seen it, have appreciated the effort. One lady, though, called me a misogynist. Just goes to show you can’t please everybody.
Where the lady in the linked article and I would come to loggerheads is her insistence that some of the victims were *not* prostitutes, as has been the common belief. She is right in that there is no concrete evidence to prove that some of them were prostitutes—but there wouldn’t have been. Also, there is the problem of how one defines prostitution. If you define being a prostitute as doing it full-time, professionally, then *none* of the victims of the Ripper were prostitutes. But it is a sad yet undeniable fact that most of the women in such circumstances in the East End of London in 1888 did have to turn to prostitution at least on occasion simply to survive. Is it possible that one or more of the Ripper’s victims managed to avoid it? Sure. Is it likely? No.
All the Ripper’s victims probably were prostitutes, in that they did have to resort to sex work on at least some occasions just to have enough money to eat. It does not dehumanize them to admit this. A flat denial of the possibility in the face of the preponderance of evidence, to further an agenda, does more to dehumanize them, in my opinion. Not that I’m saying for certain that this is what this woman is doing. While she *is* making the claim—which I dispute—I want to give her the benefit of the doubt and not say that her motivations are strictly political, meant to further an agenda. Only she would know what her motivations truly are.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
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