Study on the Trauma Suffered by Women Survivors of ” #Witch Hunts” in #India

January 2015, Assam

A study on survivors of “witch-hunts” shows that these women face not only psychological, sexual and physical violence but also economic abuse like being stripped of land, house, livestock, farms, and shops and denied access to jobs and public resources.

They face brutal physical violence, such as being attacked with bamboo sticks and daggers, yanked by the hair, slapped, punched and beaten up after being tied to a pillar. “There were instances where the victim was made to undergo agonising ‘tests’ like sitting on stool of thorny wood, holding iron balls or chewing betel nuts to prove they were not witches.”  In one case, the deceased victim, and her daughter  were raped by a group of seven men, had rods inserted in their private parts following which they were burnt by acid,” the report said. In four cases, the women were murdered.

The study also establishes that branding women as “witches” was “a tool to settle scores owing to personal enmity, jealousy or to grab property.”


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