Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Did The Victims Carry Weapons?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Did The Victims Carry Weapons?

    I have had many encounters, in a professional capacity (mine, not theirs, I hasten to add!) with prostitutes, over the years. In my experience, unless a pimp is in close attendance, they routinely carry a weapon of some sort, against the ever-present risk of attack.
    In 1888, in the East End of London, and when a known killer of prostitutes was on the loose, I would expect to find that every such 'brass' working the streets anywhere near Spitalfields and Whitechapel would be armed with something and yet, according to the surviving records, none of them was carrying anything which might be used, as a last resort, in self-defence.
    Did they really not carry weapons of any kind?
    If not, why not? (A rusty old kitchen knife would do surely?)
    If they did, what happened to them?
    "It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (as Sherlock Holmes).

  • #2
    Hi Bridewell

    I think Eddowes had a table knife - whether it was sharp I don't know.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mea Culpa

      Originally posted by Robert View Post
      Hi Bridewell

      I think Eddowes had a table knife - whether it was sharp I don't know.
      Apologies. Yes. "1 White handled table knife and 1 metal tea spoon".
      "It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (as Sherlock Holmes).

      Comment


      • #4
        Anything worthy of being considered a weapon would cost money, money they didn't have.
        A sharp table-knife, or hat-pin? possibly, but if any of them carried something for self defence it wouldn't amount to much value-wise.

        It was probably safer for them to just take a beating rather than try to defend themselves with something that could be taken from them and used against them.

        Regards, Jon S.
        Regards, Jon S.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bridewell View Post
          prostitutes {...} In my experience, unless a pimp is in close attendance, they routinely carry a weapon of some sort, against the ever-present risk of attack.
          Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
          It was probably safer for them to just take a beating rather than try to defend themselves with something that could be taken from them and used against them.
          In the US I've seen streetwalkers carrying rope on themselves along with possibly a pocket knife (when driving by, not cruising by, I hasten to add!). But we can't really compare Victorian social sensibilities with today. Self defense's very much a mental state as well, apart from carrying a weapon. If willing, even a pair of keys can be used with devastating effects. The operative word being "willing". There are newspaper reports mentioning Whitechapel women carrying knifes on them during the "autumn of terror". But the C5 were in their majority old and meek, even inside of the Whitechapel realm. Probably chosen presicely for this "quality" by their killer.

          Being too busy with Berner Street and my own work, I haven't managed to check yet: Did Tabram spot defensive injuries on her arms? Wickerman?
          Best regards,
          Maria

          Comment


          • #6
            As odd as this sounds, men want their modern prostitutes more engaged now. For example, prostitutes are expected to fake orgasms now, engage in more intimate acts, face their customer, etc.

            Back then these women were just supposed to turn around and present a ahh target. No talking no faking no looking at each other.

            Which makes self defense highly problematic. if you are bent over with your back to someone, what weapon precisely is going to get a john to back off? No one had guns, and a knife could be very effective if they were able to reach between their own legs and threaten the john where it hurts so to speak, possibly one upping even a john with a knife to your throat... but they were wearing about 50 yards of skirts, so that's out. The average Victorian hooker was left as helpless as a turtle on it's back by simple positioning.

            I mean, nowadays a prostitute spends most of her time in a car or kneeling on her own purse, so there's no reason NOT to have a weapon. Back then, the only reason to have a weapon is if you were afraid of getting attacked on the way home. But they wouldn't have been able to use it while working.
            The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mariab View Post
              Being too busy with Berner Street and my own work, I haven't managed to check yet: Did Tabram spot defensive injuries on her arms? Wickerman?
              Good question, sadly, we have no details of bruises, or minor cuts on the arms (if any) given in the papers, they only concern themselves with the stab wounds.

              Regards, Jon S.
              Regards, Jon S.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Errata View Post
                Back then these women were just supposed to turn around and present a ahh target. No talking no faking no looking at each other.
                Not at all Errata, high quality prostitutes in both Paris and London were expected to give "the GF experience" (though it wasn't called like that at the time), they even lived with a man (at a separate house or villa) for years.

                Originally posted by Errata View Post
                Which makes self defense highly problematic. if you are bent over with your back to someone, what weapon precisely is going to get a john to back off? {...} a knife could be very effective if they were able to reach between their own legs and threaten the john where it hurts so to speak, possibly one upping even a john with a knife to your throat...but they were wearing about 50 yards of skirts, so that's out.
                Are you kidding? A knife hid inside boots or stockings or skirts can be pulled out easily if one's experienced. Then insert, twist, and cut some flesh decisively, and you've got a distracted to incapacitated assailant and a window of opportunity to finish him off or flee. ;-) But I doubt that many women were mentally capable of doing this in the Victorian era. Giving a shiner to another woman or breaking a bottle on someone's head, yes. Armed fighting, nah.
                Best regards,
                Maria

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                  Good question, sadly, we have no details of bruises, or minor cuts on the arms (if any) given in the papers, they only concern themselves with the stab wounds.
                  Hmmm, and I was hoping I had missed a few details. In my suspicion, Tabram (who was more sturdy than the C5) might have pulled up a fight, resulting in the multiple, "disorganized" stabbing. In which case the neighbors at George's Yard might have lied about not having heard anything. I assume that the Ripper learned to go immediately for the jugular from his experience with Tabram.
                  Conjecture, of course, but it makes sense.
                  Best regards,
                  Maria

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mariab View Post
                    Hmmm, and I was hoping I had missed a few details. In my suspicion, Tabram (who was more sturdy than the C5) might have pulled up a fight, resulting in the multiple, "disorganized" stabbing. In which case the neighbors at George's Yard might have lied about not having heard anything. I assume that the Ripper learned to go immediately for the jugular from his experience with Tabram.
                    Conjecture, of course, but it makes sense.
                    Point of trivia..
                    Do you remember the Boston Strangler murders?, its been a while since I read them but, I think it was his second victim where he used the knife.
                    She was stabbed numerous times (like Tabram?), in a frienzy. The only one where the MO differed. His reason given was "that she wouldn't shut up!"

                    Yes, its a shame Killeen's report has not survived, it could have answered so many questions.

                    Regards, Jon S.
                    Regards, Jon S.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      short highjacking

                      Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                      Do you remember the Boston Strangler murders?, its been a while since I read them but, I think it was his second victim where he used the knife. She was stabbed numerous times (like Tabram?), in a frienzy. The only one where the MO differed. His reason given was "that she wouldn't shut up!"
                      Funny you mention this, as I've been talking about this case last week with some friends. As far as I recall, there were 2 stabbed victims, one old, also strangled, one young, only stabbed. By the by and as a short highjack Wickerman, who do you think commited these murders, De Salvo or Nassar? I would trust F. L. Bailey about as far as...he could throw me? :-) Look what he did in the OJ Simpson case.
                      Best regards,
                      Maria

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        According to this article one of the victims had previously been handy with a knife, although in this snippet she was the one committing a violent attack, rather than using it in self-defence.

                        'Workhouse interiors by a poor law guardian' The Woman's Signal Thursday, September 27, 1894; pg. 197
                        Click image for larger version

Name:	table knife.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	48.0 KB
ID:	663466
                        ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                        I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Debs

                          I assume that the meaning of "lost sight of" is that while Polly was working as a domestic servant, the Guardian maybe visited her once in a while to keep her on the straight and narrow, and the Guardian attributes Polly's relapse to the Guardian's absence?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mariab View Post
                            Not at all Errata, high quality prostitutes in both Paris and London were expected to give "the GF experience" (though it wasn't called like that at the time), they even lived with a man (at a separate house or villa) for years.
                            Well yes, the whole courtesan thing. But the women in the alleys of Whitechapel were not courtesans, and that was to whom I was referring.

                            Are you kidding? A knife hid inside boots or stockings or skirts can be pulled out easily if one's experienced. Then insert, twist, and cut some flesh decisively, and you've got a distracted to incapacitated assailant and a window of opportunity to finish him off or flee. ;-) But I doubt that many women were mentally capable of doing this in the Victorian era. Giving a shiner to another woman or breaking a bottle on someone's head, yes. Armed fighting, nah.
                            The viability of any defense is based largely on the point at which you realize you are in trouble. If you realize it before commencing the act, you're good, as you are standing and facing them. If your back is to them and you are bent over, you have a real problem. You can't see them prepare to attack you. Which means that you find out that you are in trouble when you are attacked. Now theres basically three ways this could go down (theres more, but this is a good representation). Sine we are talking about the fear of being murdered, a prostitute could a: find hands wrapped around her throat b:find a cord wrapped around her throat, or c: find a knife at her throat. Since we are talking about the fear of Jack the Ripper, who the women in question would know as a knife killer, we can settle on a fear of a knife at their throat. So the the question becomes, what can you you do to a man who is behind you with a knife to your throat that would make him let you go, without cutting your throat? Yes, you could reach back nd stab him in the calf with a table knife, but is that going to make him let you go, or is that going to make him cut your throat and then tend to his wound? Likely the latter. The only way to get him to let you go is to either his him someplace vital, so that he HAS to drop the knife, or threaten or hit him someplace that make killing you no longer worth the risk. Given the positioning, there is no place vital to hit him without seriously risking driving his knife into your own throat. So that's out. The reaching between the legs scenario and threatening his bits would likely work on any attacker other than Jack the Ripper. But the skirts are in the way. So no go there anyway.

                            They could fight back. And they should. But they can't defend themselves. They can't drive him off, they can't stop the attack. Not the kind of attack they were afraid of. Now if they were afraid of robbery, sure a jab to the leg would probably convince a guy that the money wasn't worth it. But driving off someone who wants to hurt you is a different beast. That takes knowing someone is going to try to hurt you BEFORE they hurt you. And that cannot be accomplished with their back turned.
                            The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm aware of the various theories as to how, physically, Victorian street-walkers conducted their business. Can we be sure that penetration from the rear was invariably the "line of attack", so to speak?
                              There is nothing to stop a prostitute from saying, "Yes, I will, dearie, but not from behind until they catch Leather Apron. You can't be too careful these days".

                              Yes, they were desperate, but they were also streetwise, surely?
                              "It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (as Sherlock Holmes).

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X