WHO cares about Peter Sutcliffe? We care about the 13 women who lost their lives because of his vile, murderous actions.
We care about the women of Yorkshire who lived for five years in fear.
Let us also remember how police investigations seemed to be obsessed with the idea that the serial killer was only focused on sex workers.
It has been long argued that this delayed the process of identifying and arresting him.
At the time, the Press made distinctions between innocent victims and those who were sex workers — as though one category was more deserving of murder than another.
The police told women not to go out at night “unless accompanied by a man they know”.
In response, in 1977 the women of Leeds organised the first 'Reclaim the Night' protest.
Women marched together to protest the idea that they were expected to stay at home after dark (why not expect men to stay at home instead?).
'Reclaim the Night' soon spread nationally and internationally and is still going strong.
However, the work to end violence against women is still as urgently needed as ever.
Peter Sutcliffe killed his first victim, Wilma McCann, in 1975, the year after Women’s Aid Federation of England was founded.
Plenty has changed in terms of legislation and awareness of violence against women since then.
Yet women are still being killed by men every single week in this country.
One woman is killed every four days by a current or former partner in the UK, and there are many more women killed by men, in a variety of circumstances.
You do not need to be a serial killer to kill women.
Men who feel entitled to control and abuse women murder them. Men who think women are lesser beings, a commodity to be used and abused.
It is because men are still committing such crimes that campaigner Karen Ingala-Smith founded her blog Counting Dead Women, which evolved into The Femicide Census, which counts the lives of every woman killed in the UK since 2009.
Peter Sutcliffe may be dead, but misogyny and violence against women isn’t.
Today, let’s not remember the murderer but the women who were murdered.
We do not care about him and have no wish to name him again.
Let us name the women he murdered for they shall not be forgotten: Wilma McCann, Emily Jackson, Irene Richardson, Tina Atkinson, Jayne MacDonald, Jean Jordan, Yvonne Pearson, Helen Rytka, Vera Millward, Josephine Whitaker, Barbara Leach, Marguerite Walls and Jacqueline Hill.
To find out more about the important work carried out by Women's Aid follow this link. To read more about the Femicide Census, click here.
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