Eight women were beaten, tortured and humiliated by villagers after being branded as witches in a small community outside of Kirkview, Ontario. The incident has caused an outrage among the general public, who argue that the alarming episode is evidence of hidden chauvinistic undercurrents in society.
The suspicions began on Friday night, when the eight women were reportedly seen cackling near Old Town Square. The following morning accounts of whispering in a foreign language raised eyebrows among the superstitious and blood-hungry villagers, who began throwing stones at the levitating women. The hostilities culminated on Sunday, when the eight victims were said to have been minding their own business, huddled around a cauldron inside of the gingerbread house which they collectively share, brewing strange ingredients and producing ghastly smells, before receiving the unprovoked violent attacks. By high noon, an unruly mob ate their way into their house, dragged the women out and started beating them.
“This has set us back about 150 years in the fight for justice”, says Judith Bronte, head of the Gender Studies Department at McGill University. “I really don’t know what to say. It’s deplorable.”
“They were singled out because they were different”, says Tom Spillard, director of the Center for the Advocacy of Equal Rights.
The victims were taken to a playground where hundreds had assembled to watch the spectacle. As their clothes were torn off, they were hit with sticks. They were torn apart by hungry dogs, and then parts of their bodies were burned at the stake while other parts were drowned in large barrels of bubbling water.
Armed police have since been deployed to the area to pacify the situation. The victims, miraculously still living, have been buried in coffins under a thick layer of cement to ensure that the abuse does not continue. The entire village has since been put under arrest.
The villagers remain convinced that their actions, however drastic they were, were a necessary step in the town’s witch hunt, as well as the longstanding campaign to eliminate Magick.
“I always known they were sorc’rers for having them pointed hats”, states Jim Bucker, a local electrician.
“If they wasn’t witches, then who turned my leg into an eel?” He continued, before limping off to his house, now a toadstool.
Analysts attribute the attitude of the villagers to deeply-ingrained prejudices that stem from the patriarchal structure of their rural community.
“Something needs to be done”, Bronte insists. “This was an unparalleled act of aggression against not only a group of women, but women as a whole”.
“It really says a lot about our society that a woman is assumed to be a “witch”, and will face discrimination and ritual humiliation every time she does so much as fly around on a broomstick or turn into a toad”, Spillard told the local news.
Experts speculate that the attacks were motivated in part by superstitious beliefs.