Exploring gender and fear retrospectively: stories of women’s fear during the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ murders

Wattis, Louise (2017) Exploring gender and fear retrospectively: stories of women’s fear during the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ murders. Gender, Place & Culture, 24 (8). pp. 1071-1089. ISSN 0966-369X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2017.1372384


The murder of 13 women in the North of England between 1975 and 1979 by Peter Sutcliffe who became known as the Yorkshire Ripper can be viewed as a significant criminal event due to the level of fear generated and the impact on local communities more generally. Drawing upon oral history interviews carried out with individuals living in Leeds at the time of the murders, this article explores women’s accounts of their fears from the time. This offers the opportunity to explore the gender/fear nexus from the unique perspective of a clearly defined object of fear situated within a specific spatial and historical setting. Findings revealed a range of anticipated fear-related emotions and practices which confirm popular ‘high-fear’ motifs; however, narrative analysis of interviews also highlighted more nuanced articulations of resistance and fearlessness based upon class, place and biographies of violence, as well as the way in which women drew upon fear/fearlessness in their overall construction of self. It is argued that using narrative approaches is a valuable means of uncovering the complexity of fear of crime and more specifically provides renewed insight onto women’s fear.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: British Academy (SG121776)
Uncontrolled Keywords: narrative, violence against women, women’s fear of crime, gender, Serial murder
Subjects: L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2022 09:49
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2022 10:00
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/48401

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