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Jack the Ripper’s victims had to be whores. Anyone saying different risks a trolling

4 11 0
02.06.2019

You don’t need to spend much time on Twitter to know that the surest way to upset certain people is to challenge their preferred version of events, but if you want to watch those people, by and large white, male Anglo-Saxons, explode in real time, the social media site does provide a ringside seat.

The historian Hallie Rubenhold made headlines last week when I interviewed her at the Hay festival about her book The Five, a biography of the victims of Jack the Ripper, and about the response to it from so-called Ripperologists – those obsessive devotees of the most famous unsolved murders in history who gather in murky forums to play amateur detective.

But the fact that she has been the target of sustained vicious and personal attacks since before the book was even published will not be news to anyone who follows her on social media, where she often posts examples of the most egregious abuse.

Her offence is daring to return to the historical record and challenge the long-accepted view that the Ripper’s victims were all sex workers. In three of the cases, there is no evidence to suggest that they were professional prostitutes, and convincing reasons to believe that they were not, but the sexualisation of the victims has become part of the legend.

Rubenhold has been accused of suppressing facts and ignoring sources to suit her “feminist........

© The Guardian