Witches Exposed

Three colonial girls cowering from witch
An illustration depicting Tituba, an accused witch

By Chloe Rigg

Witch.

A term which brings similar images to many peoples’ minds. Usually, it’s the image of a green faced, wart-covered crone who rides a broomstick with a malicious cackle. Other images include colonial witch trials, and a young woman being burned at the stake. The history behind witch trials are certainly dark and full of fear. We can learn astonishing trends in society when one asks the question: “Were the witch trials a form of gender bias?” The perspective I’m going to discuss is that the “witches” in the witch trial were an excuse to execute women for sin.

The Salem Massachusetts witch trials took place between 1692-93. During them, over 200 people were accused and 20 were executed for witchcraft. 20 people might not sound too overwhelming. However, for a village of only 500-600 people, the deaths would have impacted most citizens. This American witch trial mirrors the European “witchcraft craze” driven by Puritans, who for almost 300 years executed over ten thousand people. The majority executed were women for suspected witchcraft.

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Survivors’ Hope

 

A white sign with the text, "we believe you"
A sign from a rape survivor rally

By Chloe Rigg

“Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo’”

(To strike the woman is to strike the rock.)

These are words from a South African protest song written in the 1950’s. Throughout history individuals have been struck physically and emotionally, but society never focuses on the strength it takes these survivors to get back on their feet and become “the rock.” Survivors of sexual assault (women or men) have plenty of horror stories to tell. But, they also have a lot of inspiring, hopeful stories highlighting how one copes and comes through to the other side of these events. I am here to share some of their stories.

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A Message to the Dads

fathers-day-1439575_960_720
A Picture of a Super Dad

By Delaney Hopen

 

The Problem

I don’t think it’s easy for people to understand how severe news reports of sexual assault, school shootings, and terrorism are. This separation is similar to receiving news about someone you know who broke their leg. You may discuss how unfortunate it is, ask how it happened, and maybe even discuss the potential challenges they will face in the near future.      However…

Someone breaking their leg doesn’t rock your world.

Someone breaking their leg will not force you to lie awake at night.

Someone breaking their leg can heal.

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Thoughts of violence by the media

Older generations try to blame this lack of sympathy on violent video games, and our generation’s constant attachment to technology. It’s been said that video games like Call of Duty (COD), that “promote” the use of firearms, or Grand Theft Auto (GTA), which displays multiple forms of physical violence, could be the cause of such numbness.

I’ve heard many people try to blame sexual assault and rape on our generation as well, saying that, “This was never a problem when I was your age.”

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My Roots in Ecofeminism

Artwork titled "A Pagan Sacrifice" dipicting a black and white painting of a woman
Artwork titled “A Pagan Sacrifice”

By Chloe Rigg

“I know I am made from this earth, as my mother’s hands were made from this earth, as her dreams came from this earth and all that I know, I know in this earth…all that I know speaks to me through this earth and I long to tell you, you who are earth too, and listen as we speak to each other of what we know: the light is in us.” -Susan Griffin

“Mother Earth.”

I’m sure everyone has heard this term at some point in their life. It’s usually associated with the “peace and love” hippie type. Most people might not know that this term was brought into popularity by the first ecofeminist movements of the 60’s and 70’s. I would like to start out by explaining my connection with ecofeminism, considering it is a rather spiritual movement for some. I am the hippie type most people think of when coming across terms like Mother Earth. I love tie dye, and kombucha is like 70% of my bodily fluids. I haven’t worn a bra consistently for around two and a half years, and my life ambitions include owning a completely sustainable farm.

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Bad Stereotyping

 

rape-sign (2)
“Don’t Get Raped” Poster

 

By Beatrice Santiago

Sexual Assault is scary and unfortunately very real in every community across the United States. But it’s annoying when people categorize a certain group to be the only ones that commit these horrible acts. For example, “Mexican are rapists.” Which is not true for all Mexicans. Although comments like these offend people like me, who proudly identifies with being Mexican-American, we (News Flash!) also are affected by sexual assault. I notice too that it is extremely hard for these stereotypes to be broken when people with power have enforced such ideas onto a certain group. Among the many struggles the Latino community faces, rape and assault happen to be one of them.

In the Latino community, it is very common for men to praise other men when they have been with many women. So, this builds the self-esteem of these men when they harass a woman. When a woman does not desire to be with that man, one common thing I have heard is, “She is playing hard to get. She knows she likes it when I bother her!” Hence the terminology, Rape Culture! In an online article, I read about the way rape culture is a “Militarized Culture.” A form of oppression that is used as a weapon to degrade mostly women and it is also the notion that only certain people get raped, because of the way they dress and the way they act. In addition, Rape Culture includes not acknowledging that the men that rape are rapists.

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Everyone’s Responsibility

Logo for the University of Idaho that says "University of Idaho in gold lettering
U of I logo

By Brianna Love

It’s no secret that there is a lot of drama on the University of Idaho campus right now.  Students are protesting. Students are irritated. Students want their voices to be heard and they want a say in how they are treated on this campus. Things are starting to heat up, and if the students don’t get their way, it may become an even bigger issue.

If you’ve been keeping up with the UI Women’s Center blog, then you already know about the drama surrounding Rob Spear and how the university is handling it. If you are confused, here is a basic rundown:

About five years ago, a female swimmer for the University of Idaho reported sexual assault allegations against a football player to the Athletic Director, Rob Spear. Spear decided to not report it to the Dean of Students Office and claimed because the assault happened off campus, there was nothing he could do to help her. It wasn’t until the female athlete went to the UI Women’s Center that the Dean of Students Office was informed. To this day, Rob Spear is still the athletic director at U of I and has only apologized this year due to pressure from the media. Groups of students have voiced their opinions and signed petitions  stating that they want Spear fired.

There is obviously more to the story; however, this is what is causing all the ruckus on campus.

The issue is not necessarily with the university itself. When it was reported to the Dean of Students Office, things were sort of taken care of. The issue is also not with the athletic department as a whole. The issue is with Rob Spear and why the university has not terminated his employment after 5 years.

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Advertising? Or Objectification?

Advertisement for "Van Gogh of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies" with one of Gogh's landscapes as the background
Advertisement for “Van Gogh of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies”

By Chloe Rigg

A picture speaks a thousand words.

 A Van Gogh piece might suggest, “warmth, radiance, summer.” While a piece by Salvador Dali could conjure up, “surreal, strange, unimaginable.” Now, what thousand words are recalled by this:

An advertisement for Skyy Vodka depicting a man standing over a woman on a beach
An advertisement for Skyy Vodka

For one, it takes a couple of looks to even tell what product is being advertised. And second, I think more than a thousand words could go along with this picture. And they aren’t as radiant as a Van Gogh painting.

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