Jack the Ripper and British Attitudes to Sex and Murder: Whitechapel and the importance of Location

With such persistent interest and fascination in the Whitechapel murders, it must be asked: why?  What is it about Jack the Ripper and his murders that have grabbed people’s attention for so long?  This series of posts are exploring this question and what it can tell us about people’s fixation on sex and murder and each post has focused on a different point.  This particular post will be looking at the importance the location of the murders had on the reading public’s interest.  Whitechapel and the East End of London as a whole was an area with a dark reputation; a place thought to breed immorality and thus the geographical alternative to what the common prostitute represented for society. Continue reading Jack the Ripper and British Attitudes to Sex and Murder: Whitechapel and the importance of Location

Rape Myths and their Pervasiveness in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Rape Myths and their Impact on the Victims

Rape Myths and their Pervasiveness in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Rape Myths and their Impact on the Victims

Rape myths permeated throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.  Suggestions that, on some level, the victim “wanted it” and that “it is impossible to sheath a sword into a vibrating scabbard”, had consequences.  Not only did these myths affect the attitudes and perceptions of the authorities involved in the prosecution and conviction of these crimes, it also impacted the victims’ experiences as well.  This post will be focusing on this point and on the difficulties they faced when they attempted to report the assaults. Continue reading Rape Myths and their Pervasiveness in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Rape Myths and their Impact on the Victims

Jack the Ripper and British Attitudes to Sex and Murder: Sex and sexual violence

Jack the Ripper and The Whitechapel Murders have been a source of fascination for society for well over a century now.  From the high circulation numbers of newspapers at the time to books and videos today, there is huge interest the murders.  There are multiple aspects that have caused this, such as the mystery surrounding the murders which I covered in more detail in the previous post.  One other aspect of this allurement was the murders’ connection to sex which, both at the time of the murders themselves and today has always captivated audiences. Continue reading Jack the Ripper and British Attitudes to Sex and Murder: Sex and sexual violence

Rape Myths and their Pervasiveness in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Rape myths in the media

Rape myths such as “it is impossible to sheath a sword into a vibrating scabbard”[1] permeated throughout 19th and 20th century societies.  The implications of this idea for victims of rape during this period were extensive; they not only made it difficult to gain a conviction but also brought a sense of shame and even reluctance to speak about it for the victims.  This series is focusing on the various aspects of this issue and this post will be focusing, in particular, on the way that rape myths were spread through society by the media. Continue reading Rape Myths and their Pervasiveness in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Rape myths in the media

Jack the Ripper and British Attitudes to Sex and Murder: Murder mystery

Society has been fascinated with the Jack the Ripper murders for over a century now.  In 1888, the Whitechapel murders generated circulation that was unheard of for newspapers at that time and remains a source of fascination even today.  There are various aspects that caught the imagination of Victorian society and continue to do so today.  Firstly, one reason for the allurement of Jack the Ripper was due to the fact that he was never caught.  The police arrested and interrogated 130 suspects, but they were never able to find out who Jack the Ripper was;[1] as such the mystery around who Jack the Ripper was remained unsolved.  Secondly, the Whitechapel murders involved two topics that, throughout history, has always drawn people’s attention: Sex and murder. Continue reading Jack the Ripper and British Attitudes to Sex and Murder: Murder mystery

Rape Myths and their Pervasiveness in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Rape myths and the Law

“It is impossible to sheath a sword into a vibrating scabbard.”[1]

“Women lie… false accusations are endemic.”[2]

“No does not always mean no.”[3]

“She was asking for it.”[4]

The examples above are some of the more pervasive rape myths around during the 19th Century and well into the 20th Century.  The implication of these myths being that a woman cannot be raped if she does not want it to happen, thus, making it extremely difficult to prove it had happened.  A few years ago, I wrote an essay on this topic and it is one that has certainly impacted the areas of research that I later went into and I wanted to share my findings here. Continue reading Rape Myths and their Pervasiveness in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Rape myths and the Law

The Women’s Movement: Opportunities

Inspired by the centenary of some women gaining the vote, this three-part series has been focused on the various ways that the Women’s Movements campaigned and fought for equality and women’s rights.  The movement was incredibly broad in its reach and influence.  While the first part focused on the legislative ways suffragists worked for women’s rights, and the second part concentrated on the changes that the movement brought to society’s attitudes and perceptions, this final part will be centred on the movement’s attentions on improving the opportunities available to women in society. Continue reading The Women’s Movement: Opportunities