At the end of our graphic novel we warn that witch hunting has not entirely been eradicated. This news from June 2013 illustrates our point – and we note that it is still marginalized women who are bearing the brunt of this awful scourge. The full text of the article is below (source ABC News Australia – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-05/an-fears-sorcery-related-killings-may-be-spreading-from-png/4733870)…
Melanesian experts say sorcery-related attacks and killings are on the rise and may spread from Papua New Guinea into the rest of the Pacific.
A three day conference addressing witchcraft and sorcery killings in Melanesia has started at Australia’s National University in Canberra.
Lawrence Foana’ota from the Solomon Islands National Museum, says there are fears sorcery related violence will spread to nations such as Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
“There are other trends that are coming through other Melanesian countries, like Papua New Guinea, that are now happening in the Solomons,” he said.
“They also learn form the neighbours, and I believe that might be the trend also in the sorcery practices.”
Accused sorcerers are often assaulted and their bodies defiled before a crowd, including children.
In a high profile case in April this year four woman were abducted in Bougainville and accused of black magic.
One woman was beheaded and the remaining three were held captive for weeks.
The conference has heard sorcery-related attacks are increasing and authorities are virtually powerless.
Hundreds of people a year, mostly women, are known to be victims, but the true figure could be higher.
Reverend Jack Urame says sorcery related crimes target women by an estimated ratio of five to one.
“A lot of men are I think taking the lead in accusing women, because I think generally, because Melanesians believe that women on the periphery of the society,” he said.
“They’re marginalised and they’re defenceless. A lot of women suffer from accusation and killing.”