The Afflicted Women: The Salem Witch Trials

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When one usually thinks about the Salem Witch Trials, they tend to imagine the colonial rabble, often male, accusing and indiscriminately burning women who they saw as witches at the stake. This idea is proven false when we look at the records and realize that the vast majority of women accused of being witches were being accused by other women. Woman is Salem were more likely than men to be both the accused and the accusers due to the culture that revolved around women in which they were very often upkeepers of morals in their communities. This put them at constant blows with those who didn’t conform to the traditional rules in place in their Puritan society. Through this we can understand that the reason why women were more often both the …show more content…
The “Afflicted” girls were mostly teenagers and many had seemed to suffered from some sort of PTSD. Many of the afflicted people had been refugees from an ongoing Indian war and many had been mentally scarred from it, they made references of seeing the Devil in the shape of an Indian or nightmares about Indians (Mary Beth Norton on the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 (youtube)). During the time of the Salem witch trial, this Indian war was evidently still going on and may have triggered memories in those “afflicted” from the nature of the attacks, “The Indians skulked, they lurked, they flitted, they committed atrocities—and they vanished. “Our men could see no enemy to shoot at,” a Cambridge major general lamented.” (Stacy Schiff, "Inside the Witches of Salem”). These girls most likely used the trials to empower themselves in the face of these dangers as stated in the essay on Mercy Lewis, “later in the game, it seems that perhaps a desperate need for social empowerment and belonging were strong underlying motives” (Essay on Mercy …show more content…
This shows that one of the main issues that started the Salem witch trial was the ease at which Puritanism allowed for the antagonization of women. Woman who accused did so for the empowerment in such a society and those who were accused were due to the easiness to connect their actions to a falling out with Puritan morals. Through it, those who were voiceless were able to become front and center to a power they never had and sway the actions of the

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