Witch Hunt Gender

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Gender: During the 16th century European witch hunts, witchcraft and womanhood went hand in hand. The common perception during these times was consistent in the fact that all it took to be a witch was that the person was a woman and if she was old and a woman, she was bound to be a witch. This misconceived notion put unimaginable strain on women of all ages, especially older women. Roper noted if “she was an old woman, she attacked young children (Roper p. 17).” The biased persecution against women for being women was representative in the amount of executions that took place for witchcraft, 80% of whom were women (Roper p. 18). When it is women who are responsible for the creation of life it makes it hard to digest that there was…show more content…
Without the benefit of modern science, genetics, and even common medical occurrences such as germs, midwives were routinely blamed for the acts of mother nature. Since there were not many practiced doctors, let alone ones afforded by the poor, old women and midwives were often the ones to attend and treat pregnant women and children. However, they were also the first ones blamed if the new mother didn't agree with mother nature. Midwives were accused of acts ranging from simple illness to massive outbreaks, held accountable for deformities and even accused of being witches in the case of stillbirths, all things that were out of their control. In some cases of accusation, all it took was one person to bring out additional accusers. In one such case, Ursula Kemp, renowned healer, and midwife in St Osyth during the late 1500s (Kelly) was incriminated as a witch by her friend, Grace Thurlow. Thurlow had experienced a series unfortunate events that she blamed on Kemp. Upon accusation multiple witnesses came forward that stated their loved ones fell ill at the hands of Kemp and her practice of witchcraft. Included as witnesses were friends, neighbors and even Kemp's eight year old son. Kemp's son had provided testimony that she had used her familiars to make other people sick. Kemp was forever more labeled as a…show more content…
In Southern Germany one of the most horrific periods of time took place with roughly total of 9,000 people executed for witchcraft. It's noted that approximately “one third” of all executions took place in this one region that is considered the “cradle of the German Baroque” (Roper p. 19). The high accusation rate as well as the large death toll could be due to lack of information, lack of knowledge about science and it definitely can be attributed to the leadership over said areas. Although many bigger cities had the advantage of a full judicial panel, in rural areas “a bishop might be a secular ruler of one part of his domain, with full judicial power” (Roper p. 15). With no “higher authority” to challenge the bishop in charge, it is no wonder that some of the most of the executions had taken place in these “secular” regions. After all, the people making up the rules for what was considered witchcraft, what was evidence and the proper way to extract information were not only in charge of making the information but circulating it as well in addition to following through with consequences. Although there was the option to appeal to a higher court if found guilty, many accused women found themselves executed before they even had the chance to appeal the decisions. The regions that were under direct authority of the bishop were more often ran as a

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