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Branded a Witch (BBC3) (shocking content)

(28 Posts)
pigletmania Tue 21-May-13 10:41:37

Did anyone see this programme last night? It was shocking that these attitudes exist. The reporter went to The Congo and the reporter witnessed a little boy being exorcised, it was so distressing to see. He was away from his mum and dad, the reporter as the child being beaten, being forced to drink hot palm oil, and being given a palm oil enema. He was crying and shouting, I was shock and sad. I don't think I would have been able to not intervene. Another girl about 11/12 had horrific burns that were not being treated, being exorcised from this kindoki (sp).

Funny how it's vulnerable Chidren being abused like this, because they can get away with it. These pastors are are making money from ignorant parents and vulnerable children.

LouiseSmith Tue 21-May-13 10:47:36

I saw it, it was awful. Although it isn't just children it can be the elderly, anyone who is different. Its the same as the European Witch trails. Another prime example of religious fear mongering.

I feel sorry for the children, but its a bit like the Muslim extremists, they believe whole heartedly what they are doing is right, that no they close ranks and no one is punished. I am shocked its happening in London too. Poor children.

Christians and The bible have an awful lot to answer for.

Solari Tue 21-May-13 10:49:44

I can't bear it. Also feel absolutely helpless to do anything about it. Sometimes I really despair at this world.

pigletmania Tue 21-May-13 10:55:39

It was horrific to see that poor little boy, I could not have stayed in that room. They are targeting te vulnerable because tey can get away with it. It is coming into the UK, there have been deaths here of children being abused as they ar seen to b witches sad

pigletmania Tue 21-May-13 10:57:44

It is misunderstanding and ignorance I feel as not all Christians are like this. The corrupt pastors are making money from the ignorance of people

whereismytoenail Tue 21-May-13 10:58:24

i watched the 1st 10mins then turned it over, couldnt watch it sad

Solari Tue 21-May-13 10:59:19

I do feel that perhaps the 'witches' thing is a bit of a red herring, and that people who wish to scapegoat/punish their child will use almost any reason to justify it to themselves.

I was tortured myself as a child, and while my 'Christian' father used to say it was because I was 'the Devil', I'm just as convinced he would have found another reason to carry on if he wasn't religious at all.

cory Tue 21-May-13 10:59:48

Horrible, horrible, horrible.

But not entirely sure it's the Bible that is responsible for these particular witchcraft persecutions: if you read older ethographicl accounts it seems as if they were already part of traditional Congolese religion and the (native) pastors have simply taken over something that was already there. Belief in witches and exorcism is strong in many African religions.

Otoh the European belief in witchcraft had died out long before the missionaries got to Congo so unlikely that that the original missionaries will have preached it. Victorian missionaries were strong on prudishness and the sinfulness of nudity, not so much on trial by ordeal.

Different with the European witch craft trials, but that was a very different era and even there research has shown that it was often lay authorities or local communities pushing for witch trials whilst the church was trying to hold back (Henningsen's book on the Spanish inquisitor Salazar is very interesting).

pigletmania Tue 21-May-13 11:00:23

Yes solari it is an excuse I agree, they have that abusive mentality

cory Tue 21-May-13 11:04:15

I used to read quite a lot about European witch trials, thinking I could make a research project of it (never did) and one thing that came out all over Europe was that it was usually driven from below: local communities who wanted to get at someone, an itinerant beggar who started a whispering campaign.

AuntieEggy Tue 21-May-13 11:14:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LouiseSmith Tue 21-May-13 11:33:14

While the church itself may have been holding back, as is often the case. I am Wiccan myself and I help with the local children's play days at our local CofE church, I have yet to be burnt at the stake by any of the people within the church. However the parents of little Joseph and Mary think I am the devil in carnet.

But I am in fear of moving of topic, I think education is a problem out there too, if people were educated to think for themselves, it wouldn't be such a issue. I don't blame the parents though, I think some of them think they are doing the right thing. They actually believe in this Kindoki, and they are scared of it.

SugarMouse1 Tue 21-May-13 11:39:51

I agree, this was horrible abuse to watch, I don't know how she could do it.

If only the UN or someone could do something.

cory Tue 21-May-13 12:01:30

I'm wondering about what solari said, that the people who end up doing this are the kind of people who would have done it anyway.

Even at the time of the European witch trials there were thousands of people who did not denounce their business rivals or in-laws or older sisters. They must have known they could have done it. They probably did not hold radically different views on the existence of witches per se. And yet they did not do it.

Even in traditional African societies there have been parents who have fled with their children to save them from these accusations (see e.g. Mary Kingsley's memoirs).

What these beliefs do is put a weapon in the hand of abusers. Just like a high tolerance for sexual violence gives a carte blanche to rapists.

ElleMcFearsome Tue 21-May-13 12:08:35

The DRC is, as someone said above, in a shocking state. I read an atricle a few years ago about the use of sexual violence as a weapon or war that made me weep, but also make me get involved with the V Day campaign At least programmes like this, hard as they are to watch, brings public attention to the situation. That's about the only positive thing I can say sad

Weegiemum Tue 21-May-13 12:13:31

There is a family in my church who were given refugee status in the uk as a (Christian) pastor in DRC tried to exorcise 2 of their children.

That they chose to come back to a church at all astounds me, I feel very humble at their faith.

My dd1 is very friendly with one of the girls involved.

Our church is very open, welcoming, accepting of people who have Ben harmed and hurt elsewhere in the church.

People who do this to children are NOT Christian, they are abusers, just as the catholic priests or anyone else found guilty are abusers.

nenevomito Tue 21-May-13 12:17:04

I watched it and could hardly bear watching the hideous physical and emotional abuse of that poor little boy. Beaten, starved, hot oil poured down his throat and then given as an enema. It made me sick to the core, and don't even get me started on the kids were were burned. As someone whose child had to go through burns treatment, I can't even describe the affect that had on me and I'm not even living in that hell.

The children on the streets accused of witchcraft. The kids lined up to decide who needed punishing. The children shot by the police as they fight to survive, and you just know that the girls who get caught will be raped - "the soldiers do bad things to us". Beyond shocking. Beyond sick.

Its ignorance, its poverty, its hopelessness and its people getting off and enjoying abusing children just because they can.

nenevomito Tue 21-May-13 12:18:21

Oh and it's happening here as well. Its not that Britain is immune. Its just that its not as open and blatant as it is in the DRC.

Booyhoo Tue 21-May-13 12:19:46

i agree with solari- the people who do this would do it under another guise if christianity wasn't an option. they manipulate and interpret the bible to suit their own ends. as many others do for other purposes.

i didn't see this programme last night but i watched one a couple of years ago on teh same topic. cant remember if it was in the congo though. but yes it was horrific.

a 5 year old girl had been put out of her home by her mother because she was thought to be a witch. she was sleeping rough and had been sexually assaulted. the journalist and camera crew tracked down her mother as she tried to abandon another baby for being a witch. they pleaded with her to take them back home. she did but the villagers surrounded them and were threatening to kill the girl. it was awful. the child was petrified she didn't know who was safe. the journalists took her to an orphanage.

another older girl at some sort of 'refuge' or 'home' for witch children had burns on the back of her legs and bottom because she was made to sit on the fire by her father.

2 teen boys were chained up outside the 'home' and mumbling incoherently. clearly needing immediate psychiatric care.

the man who ran the 'home' took the girls into his room at night (different girl very night) as part of their 'treatment' for being a witch. this was to excorcise them.

there was more that i cant quite remember. secret filming and interviews with the powers that be. truly horrendous. i cant imagine what those poor people are feeling. sad

JesusInTheCabbageVan Tue 21-May-13 12:22:36

If this programme stuck with you, have a little look at the charity Stepping Stones

They're brilliant. The founder just stumbled across the whole witchcraft thing while in Nigeria for something else entirely, came home, packed in his job and started the charity. They're pretty small and need all the help they can get.

somewherewest Tue 21-May-13 13:41:11

As other people have said, a lot of this stuff is rooted in indigenous African beliefs which predate the arrival of Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa, and a lot of Christians inside and outside Africa are really horrified by it. And the Congo is a very tragic, traumatised society generally. Historically societies passing through periods of stress tend to express their anxiety in 'witch-hunting'. The only difference in 20thc secular societies was that the 'witches' were alleged communists, or supposed capitalists or foreigners or whatever. Getting rid of religion doesn't stop witch-hunting, it just gives us different ideas about who the witches are.


pigletmania Tue 21-May-13 13:42:22

I agree people need education, knowledge is key. They do not know any different. It probably has been going on for centuries, but due to mass media is bringing it to the forefront

urtwistingmymelonman Tue 21-May-13 13:53:27

in the words of john lennon'imagine...........'

cory Tue 21-May-13 14:31:15

"Historically societies passing through periods of stress tend to express their anxiety in 'witch-hunting'. "

True. Very strong elements of witch-hunting in the Chinese Cultural Revolution; the similarities with 16th century France and 17th century Scandinavia are quite striking.

But I suppose John Lennon thought maoist China was a tolerant idyll. As did we all in the sixties.

I don't think knowledge is the only answer; the kind of society that would hunt witches would equally happily hunt communists or capitalist swine or whatever. It's about the levels of hate and fear. And incidentally academic research does seem to show that witch hunting by lay people increased dramatically at a time in early modern history when more and more people were questioning the teaching of the church. So again, perhaps not so much about education as about insecurity.

Very few people in the 12th century can have doubted the actual possibility of witches; they just didn't seem to feel the need to go out looking for them. In the 16th century they did.

boxershorts Tue 21-May-13 14:36:18

The horrible side of life

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