Ripper doll insensitive to pain here, women's groups say

Wendy Mclellan

The Province

Sunday, January 02, 2005

CREDIT: Gerry Kahrmann, the province
Jack the Ripper doll.

The bloodied Jack the Ripper doll on the toy shelf at Vancouver's Virgin Megastore is drawing fire from women's groups. They say that in a city still coming to terms with its own serial killer, a doll depicting a man who murdered prostitutes is tasteless.

"It doesn't display much sensitivity, does it?" asked Kate Gibson, director of the WISH Drop In Centre for sex-trade workers on the Downtown Eastside.

Maggie de Vries, whose sister Sarah is one of the women missing from the streets of the eastside, said the doll suggests that violence against women is acceptable.

"When other people see that doll, they won't be thinking what I'm thinking," said de Vries, author of an award-winning book about the disappearance of her sister.

"This is a doll based on a historical character who killed prostitutes. We have such men among us. This is not something to glorify."

Jack the Ripper is the name newspapers gave to an unknown killer who terrorized London in 1888. The case was never solved.

No one was available for comment Friday at the Vancouver store or Virgin's head office in L.A.

 The Vancouver Province 2005