Ending Sorcery Accusation-Related Violence with Miranda Forsyth

Ending Sorcery Accusation-Related Violence with Miranda Forsyth Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast

This episode will lightly introduce you to Melanesia sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV) through an eye-opening and informative conversation with professor and advocate Miranda Forsyth, professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the College of Asia and Pacific at Australian National University. She is a director of The International Network Against Accusations of Witchcraft and Associated Harmful Practices. Miranda’s geographical focus has been primarily in the Pacific Islands region, particularly Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Her current research projects include focusing on a multi-year project on overcoming sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea. This is Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcasts first look at the Pacific Island region witch hunt. We ask: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches? Stop Sorcery Violence in PNGSorcery National Action PlanThe International NetworkFighting the Wildfire of SARVAustralian National University Wildfire StoryMap Announcement Purchase a Witch Trial White Rose Memorial ButtonSupport Us! Sign up as a Super Listener!End Witch Hunts Movement Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcast Book StoreSupport Us! Buy Witch Trial Merch!Support Us! Buy Podcast Merch!Join us on Discord to share your ideas and feedback.WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestLinkedInYouTubeTikTokDiscordBuzzsproutMailchimpDonateSupport the show

Show Notes

This episode will lightly introduce you to Melanesia sorcery accusation violence through an eye opening and informative conversation with professor and advocate Miranda Forsyth, professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) in the College of Asia and Pacific at ANU. She is a Director of the Working Committee for The International Network Against Accusations of Witchcraft and Associated Harmful Practices. Miranda’s geographical focus has been primarily in the Pacific Islands region, particularly Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Her current research projects include focusing on a multi-year project on overcoming sorcery accusation related violence in Papua New Guinea. This is Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcasts first look at the Pacific Island region witch hunt. We ask: Why do we witch hunt? How do we witch hunt? How do we stop hunting witches? 

Links

Stop Sorcery Violence in PNG

Sorcery National Action Plan

The International Network

Fighting the Wildfire of SARV

Australian National University Wildfire StoryMap Announcement 

Purchase a Witch Trial White Rose Memorial Button

Support Us! Sign up as a Super Listener!

End Witch Hunts Movement 

Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcast Book Store

Support Us! Buy Witch Trial Merch!

Support Us! Buy Podcast Merch!

Join us on Discord to share your ideas and feedback.

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Transcript

[00:00:20] Josh Hutchinson: Welcome to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. I'm Josh Hutchinson.
[00:00:25] Sarah Jack: And I'm Sarah Jack.
[00:00:27] Josh Hutchinson: In this episode, we're speaking with Miranda Forsyth, a director of The International Network Against Accusations of Witchcraft and Associated Harmful Practices, about her network's activities, and the crisis of sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea.
[00:00:44] Sarah Jack: This conversation will stretch your mind. 
[00:00:48] Josh Hutchinson: We will be learning about the causes of sorcery accusation-related violence and what's contributing to an uptick in those harmful practices and learn how sorcery accusation-related violence is like a wildfire.
 You're used to hearing us talk about witch hunts. Today we're talking about sorcery accusation related violence, SARV.
[00:01:18] Sarah Jack: I like this terminology because the action part of that phrase, accusation-related violence, really puts the emphasis on the accuser and the violence.
[00:01:31] Josh Hutchinson: Yes. It's not the alleged sorcery that's really at issue here. It's the accusations and the results of those accusations. And once you're accused of sorcery or witchcraft, we see this all over the world, negative consequences follow. Even if you are not violently attacked, your reputation is ruined, and you often have to leave your community and seek shelter elsewhere.
We learn about different solutions. The holistic approach is needed.
[00:02:20] Sarah Jack: Just like we don't find one single reason that an accusation happens, it's not a single solution that's gonna solve the violence.
[00:02:36] Josh Hutchinson: We all need to take action to stop violence, and every sector in government and civil society needs to respond to this to be a part of the solution. Everyone has to work together, and each person and each government agency and NGO has their own responsibilities, pieces that they need to be working on. And so we'll learn what all those components are to a holistic solution. Learn about how the healthcare sector needs to be involved, the law enforcement and judicial sector, the civil society, private organizations and individuals and community leaders, religious leaders, all need to be involved to complete a solution.
[00:03:47] Sarah Jack: Did you hear that list? There's a good chance you fall onto one of those categories, and if you don't, someone in your household does, or your neighbor or your friend.  I hope this episode causes you to think about how your position and your profession or community gives you influence to do something about this problem or urges you to reach out to your friend or family member who could have influence to benefit the efforts against this violence.
[00:04:27] Josh Hutchinson: I do wanna just mention the National Action Plan, the Papua New Guinea Sorcery and Witchcraft Accusation-Related Violence National Action Plan. That holistic approach is being employed to solve the major problem and that gathers people from many sectors and brings them all together. 
[00:05:00] Sarah Jack: It's a well-informed plan.
[00:05:03] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, it's well-informed. There are many, many people working to implement it, and knowing that there are all these advocates and people willing to risk their own lives to save people from Sorcery Accusation-Related Violence, the National Action Plan, and other action plans being developed elsewhere. Between those plans and just the number of people wanting to advocate right now, I'm very optimistic that this situation is going to improve.
[00:05:49] Sarah Jack: Yes. When you listen to Miranda today, you're hearing research, you're hearing the outcomes of well-informed tactics or strategies.
[00:06:02] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, many of these community-level interventions, in particular, are having real impacts in their locations. And, as more resources become available to the advocates, more of that work will be able to be done and more lives will be saved.
[00:06:29] Sarah Jack: Enjoy this enriching talk with Miranda Forsyth, a professor in the school of Regulation and Global Governance in the College of Asia and Pacific at Australia National University and director on the working committee of The International Network Against Accusations of Witchcraft and Associated Harmful Practices. 
[00:06:46] Josh Hutchinson: Can you explain for us what The International Network Against Accusations of Witchcraft and Associated Harmful Practices is?
[00:06:56] Miranda Forsyth: So that's a new NGO that I and some colleagues formed last year. And really it was a way of bringing together individuals across the world who are interested in trying to combat the problem, the harms that come from accusations of witchcraft and associated harmful practices. And we really formed it in order to take over from the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network that was set up quite some years ago, and that was run by Gary Foxcroft. He decided that he wanted to step away and do some other things, and we were conscious that that had been providing quite an important space, particularly for the advocacy around work at the United Nations.
And so we didn't want that to disappear. So we thought, okay then, let's create this new network really in order to continue the work that Gary and WHRIN had been doing. The people who formed it, we really came together in 2017, when the Special Expert for people Living with Albinism convened a meeting in Geneva to really address for the first time the issue of accusations of witchcraft and associated harmful practices.
And I'm using that language, because it is a very difficult, the terminology is a really difficult part of this whole issue, as I'm sure you guys are very, very aware, and there was a lot of discussion about what language we should be using, what terms are appropriate, witchcraft or sorcery, how do we bring together the different agendas?
So for example, of particular interest for the Special Expert of People Living with Albinism are what were called muti killings or ritual attacks on people with albinism. Often that was done not as part of an accusation of witchcraft, but because of a belief that their body parts could be used either to bring good fortune or to heal some kind of a sickness.
And so they would be mutilated in all sorts of really horrible ways. And so there was a desire to bring these various different agendas together, which all coalesce around harm that comes from beliefs in the supernatural. So that happened in 2017, that very important meeting, which then led the sort of a core group of people to work to develop a concept note and some data intended to really support a push for a special resolution on the issue of harmful practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attack. And that happened in 2021. And then as there was a follow-up expert report that was done following another meeting in 2022. 
So the group of people who were working in that space really decided it's fantastic that there have been all of these announcements that have come out at the UN level, but there probably needs to be a lot of advocacy, a lot of networking around those different, quite high-level agreements, in order to really make change on the ground. And so our network is intended to connect people, to share initiatives, to share information, and to try to get knowledge about that special resolution out into the broader public and down to the grassroots NGOs that we hope can, can really use it.
[00:10:37] Sarah Jack: Are there any other activities of the network that you wanna speak about?
[00:10:42] Miranda Forsyth: So we've created a website, and the website is really intended to put in one place a lot of the information about these issues. So we've got a whole lot of videos from different parts of the world. Because I work in Melanesia, then I have to say that a lot of the content is from Papua New Guinea, but we've tried really hard to, to bring what we found in other places, as well, but to all of your listeners, if you've got other information that you would like to share with us on the website, we'd be really happy to have that.
We're also trying to, to put out regular newsletters to let people know about what's been happening in that space, to encourage people to share their stories about what has been happening for them as well as a way, again, of raising advocacy, but also just making people realize that they're not alone.
Cuz often being accused can be a very, very isolating and terrifying experience. And so we're hoping that by showing that this is a phenomenon that exists across the world, it impacts on wealthy men as well as poor, old women and beautiful, young women. Everybody can be a victim of this. And so we're, we're trying to create that sense of a community. Some of our members have also been really successful in getting grants. And Charlotte Baker, who's at the university, a professor at the University of Lancaster she got a grant that is going to be doing a whole range of really exciting things, but one part of it is an online advocacy program that's going to get out, online, a whole lot of materials about explaining the resolution, what, what it does and also what it doesn't do, cuz there's a lot of misunderstandings, as well, about what that resolution does. 
So we wanna make it really clear to people this doesn't impact on your right to believe whatever you want. It doesn't impact on people's right to their culture. It doesn't impact on the really important work that's done by traditional healers, all of those things. No, it's about harmful practices, and that is the intent of that online information program, which we hope will be done in a really engaging way.
So we've also got a photography competition that's running at the moment and that's been to encourage people to send in photos that we can use in that online advocacy program to really highlight the issue in quite, hopefully, expressive and innovative ways.
[00:13:22] Josh Hutchinson: How did you come to be involved in this area?
[00:13:25] Miranda Forsyth: So I was a, a volunteer prosecutor in Vanuatu, which is a small country in the South Pacific. And one of the early cases that I came across was a case where somebody had been found guilty of witchcraft, because witchcraft is still an offense in the Vanuatu penal code, or it was back then, and I was in the prosecution office, and I saw that the case had resulted in a conviction, but then it was a conviction for both witchcraft, but also murder and rape. And then the sentence was very lenient. And we decided we needed to appeal that on the basis that the sentence was manifestly inadequate. But then that also gave rise to the public defender very appropriately appealing it on the basis that the witchcraft conviction was was unsound.
And so the case then went to the Court of Appeal, and the Court of Appeal held that, in fact, it was an unsound conviction. And said that, in the court at the moment, there is no way that you can prove witchcraft. And so really they not only struck out that conviction, but they made it pretty clear that it will be very, very hard to bring such a, a case in future because there, how do you prove that in a court of law? So that was a really important precedent, but it then opened my eyes to the fact that, oh, there is a belief in witchcraft, or nakaemas it's called in Vanuatu, or sometimes they refer to it as poisoning.
And that belief structures people's lives in really significant ways. So it impacts on where people go, on the kinds of work that people will do, in the ways that they engage in the economy, the fear of people being jealous of them, or the fear that if somebody has done something wrong, then it's because of, of the use of sorcery or witchcraft is, is very real. And, and I thought this actually impacts then on the way, or this should impact on the way in which the Australian government does development, for example. Because if you don't understand that, and then you just do development programs without taking those cultural beliefs into account, then you're gonna run into problems.
And so I tried to raise some awareness of that. But I found that there wasn't really much of an appetite for listening to, to what I was trying to say. And so then when I returned to Australia some years later, I was, I'd always been interested then in, in this idea of, of witchcraft and sorcery being an important feature of Melanesian society that really wasn't taken into account by Australian law and development or just generally development practitioners.
And so I was talking with a friend of mine back in Australia who works with a lot of people in Papua New Guinea. And he started telling me about the problem of witchcraft accusations in Papua New Guinea and how, whereas in Vanuatu you'll have a murder that arises from an accusation of, of witchcraft maybe once a year, but in Papua New Guinea, he told me, no, no, no, this is happening on a really, really regular basis. 
And so together we thought, "let's hold a conference in Australia to try to draw attention to the issue." And our target audience really was the Australian government. Just to just say we need to put this as an issue on the radar. It's not a sort of a funny, strange thing. It's a really significant human rights issue that does need to be addressed. And. It's not a matter of just saying, "oh people will be educated, and the world will change, and this will go away," because it just doesn't look like that's happening.
And at the time that we decided to hold that conference, there was a very, very public burning of a woman in Papua New Guinea, Mrs. Leniata Kepari. That went viral. The images of her being burnt went viral across the world, so there was a lot of attention on the issue. And then some activists in Papua New Guinea got in touch with us and said, "oh, we think that this also needs a conference in Papua New Guinea." And so we said, "great, let's team up and, and hold another conference in Papua New Guinea." And so that was my first introduction to the issue in PNG and that, we held a conference in Goroka in 2013, and that brought together various different groups who were working on the issue. 
But at that time we didn't have any shared terminology about it. We still had the, the problem, but often people would end up talking at cross purposes. Some people would be talking about the problem of sorcery. Some people would be talking about the problem of the violence that comes from sorcery accusations. So it was a constant miscommunication that was occurring, but it was clear that there were enough people who were realizing this is a problem. We don't know the scope of it, but we are seeing it is resulting in this absolute misery for women, for men, for families being displaced, and something needed to be done. So I then became involved with the core leaders of that conference, and that journey has continued ever since, really.
[00:19:05] Sarah Jack: You spoke a little bit about Melanesia and what a important place that has in your work. Can you tell us what is currently going on in Melanesia with sorcery violence?
[00:19:17] Miranda Forsyth: Melanesia is made up of a number of different countries. I work primarily in Papua New Guinea, which is where the vast majority of really extreme violence related to sorcery accusations occurs. You do have, as I mentioned, these cases in Vanuatu and in Solomon Islands, to an extent, but it's so much less significant than it is in Papua New Guinea.
In Papua New Guinea, we don't actually know what the population is. It's between 9 and 17 million. It is expanding quite rapidly, there's a big youth bubble, and it is one of those countries that has got the resource curse that some people call it. So there are quite a lot of big mining, natural gas projects, but in general the levels of wealth of the population have certainly not increased as you would've hoped, given the immense natural resources of the country. 
There is a, what some have called an epidemic of sorcery accusation-related violence in Papua New Guinea. We, after a number of years, managed to to come to an agreement on that terminology, sorcery accusation-related violence, because it really identifies the fact that it is the accusation of sorcery that is the real issue that we are targeting. And we call it SARV for short. 
And it became clear that it is an issue. It's very hidden, though, as I'm sure again, many would've told you on this on this program, and as you would know, a lot of these cases are just not reported. They're not reported to the police. When people go to hospital, they don't say that they're had these injuries because of an accusation of sorcery because that puts them at, at more harm of being reaccused, unfortunately. We've also heard of cases where, patients are in hospital seeking care and then groups will come in and take them out and re-torture them.
We became aware that this is a massive problem, but we don't know the scale of it. So the only data sources that we have are the newspapers and the national courts database that reports the few cases that are actually prosecuted. In order to try to understand what is the scope of these and who are the people who are being accused and what circumstances are they accused in and who are the perpetrators and what kinds of harms do people face and who tries to stop them and what kind of prevention activities occur and who looks after the victims afterwards and how are they reintegrated into their communities? Like all of those questions we just didn't know the answers to. And so I've been leading a research project that's been trying to find the answers to those questions for the past 10 years or so.
And we, we still can't exactly say how many cases there are, but we did quite a detailed case collection in four provinces over four years, and we documented 1,500 or so cases of accusation and about a third of those led to physical violence. But of course, the ones that even didn't lead to physical violence, you still have stigmatization, which has an incredible psychological toll on people. People talk about the fact that they've got this brand on their forehead that they can just never, ever wash off or get rid of. Anytime something goes wrong in the community, then they are afraid that they are going to be reaccused.
[00:23:14] Josh Hutchinson: And what causes an accusation?
[00:23:18] Miranda Forsyth: Okay. So I have come up with an explanatory metaphor to try to explain what happens because it's clear that there is no one factor, right? This is a really complex phenomenon. So we have to understand that there are many things that come together, in order for an accusation to occur and then to lead to violence.
So I find it helpful to think of a wildfire and to think first of all of the idea that you need to have a conducive landscape, right? So when, for a wildfire, you need to have a dry landscape with lots of buildup of of fuel. But for a sorcery accusation, the kind of conducive landscape, there's a cultural and there's a socioeconomic dimension to it. From the cultural dimension, you need to have a population in which there is a belief that if misfortune occurs, it can be the result of somebody using supernatural forces in a deliberate or a unconscious way. So that's the worldview, if you like, of an acceptance of a magical explanation for misfortune.
But often that, that worldview will coexist with other worldviews. We call that worldview pluralism. So often, people will be open to that explanation, but they'll also be open to a more scientific explanation or else to a Christian explanation of that it is God, for example, who's responsible for whether people live or die. So long as there is a magical worldview, then that's part of the conducive landscape. 
Then often you have situations where there is poverty, there is uncertainty for one reason or another. That might be because of increasing pressures on land caused by population growth or caused by drought, caused by earthquake. So those are some other features of that conducive landscape. 
Also when you're thinking about the conducive landscape, you can think about things like ongoing land disputes. So the community is already somewhat tense, there's already antagonisms between different groups. 
So the conducive landscape, then you often need to have a trigger event, and that trigger event we find is often a death or a sickness, particularly a death of a child or a sort of an unusual death. But a lot of people say there is no such thing as a normal death. Almost any death can potentially be seen as having been caused by sorcery. So that trigger event then gives rise to suspicions, to gossip.
These are often aired at what are called haus krai or funerals that can take place over many days. And and so there's a lot of people together, gossiping and there's concerns raised about, okay, well how did this happen? And then often you have people who will then come in and who will crystallize those sort of suspicions by naming and accusing somebody in a particular way. And those people in Papua New Guinea are often called a glassman, or a glassmeri, like a diviner kind of a person. Although can be Christian prayer warriors, as well, who will often identify individuals, in order to pray over them. So there's a slightly different motivation between the glassmeri, glassman and the prayer warrior. The glassman and glassmeri are often paid for their services, and this falls into that category that some of my colleagues call a spiritual entrepreneur, who really benefits from these things, seen to have the power to make these kinds of identifications. So then that crystallization of the belief, also it can be used by people who have got something to benefit from the person being accused.
So often you hear people talking about the fact that, oh, accusations are just motivated by economic reasons. People want somebody's land, and so therefore they'll make an accusation of sorcery, it's not a real belief in sorcery. I think that that's too simplistic. I think that when there is that belief in play, then it's there, it plays a role. But for sure, people do deliberately make accusations in ways that benefit them. But they might also think, "we've had this land dispute, so that is the most likely person to have caused that particular death, as well." it's chicken and egg to an extent. 
But we have certainly documented many, many cases where, for example, a brother will accuse his brother's wife of sorcery, of having killed him in order to then obtain his land. And that kind of person then will also be present in that discussion about, okay then, so someone's accused, what are we gonna do? And then leading towards the decision to engage in violence. And of course this isn't always just, it's not a, a something that is discussed in a rational way a lot of the time as well. There's, it's a very emotional process, but often it can take a while to happen. Sometimes it happens very, very quickly, and it's just a sort of a really trigger combustion event.
But sometimes it can build, there can be suspicions for a little bit of time before the violence erupts. And then once the violence erupts, then it really becomes a mob, a collective, violent event. And we've documented in a lot of the cases, there's, 20, 30, 40 people who are involved in the particular case.
That's one pattern that we see. And the people who are doing the accusing, like in many other parts of the world, often have some kind of a relationship with the person who's being accused. So often it's a blood connection, and often there is already some sort of an ongoing tension. It might be over land, it might be because of a case of polygamy, or it might be a jealousy of one sort or another. 
The victims that we've found can be both, as I've said, men and women. It very much depends on the particular part of Papua New Guinea that we're talking about. In some places it's almost entirely women, in some places it's almost entirely men, and in other places it'll generally be families that are accused, so you have both. When we've done our newspaper analysis, then we've found that it's about 50/50 overall men and women. But that sort of general explanation doesn't take into account those regional differences, which really show that it is a highly gendered phenomenon.
It seems to be connected, like who is being accused is very much connected with the kind of narrative over sorcery and witchcraft that exists. In some places up in the highland, there are, there's reference to sanguma, who are generally seen as women who eat people's hearts. Whereas in Bougainville there's generally reference to poison man who will take leavings of peoples, so their fingernails and their hair clippings and they will do magic on those and use that to poison people.
So these very distinct cultural narratives seem to then feed into the gender of the person that said, we are noticing that there's a spread of these narratives, and there's a consequent changing of the genders of people being accused. So in some places where there were only men being accused, now there are women and vice versa. We're also noticing that children are starting to be accused, which is a really disturbing trend, as well. 
The wildfire trajectory that I identified, that has come through from the surveys that we've done and from a lot of the newspaper reports. But interestingly, when we look at the cases that are reported in the national courts, then they generally involve only a few perpetrators. And they generally involve male victims. it's really quite interesting the difference in the cases that get to court, whether or not that's because only a few individuals are actually caught, I'm not sure. There was one case in Papua New Guinea where 97 perpetrators were caught, charged, and imprisoned, which was a really amazing job by the police and by the courts. Of course, that then creates a whole lot of pressures on the state criminal justice system. But in general it's only a few people who are involved in the attack.
[00:32:45] Sarah Jack: Is there like an element where it's like with Christianity, those who fear witches in Christianity would attach it to covenanting with the devil?
[00:32:56] Miranda Forsyth: The role of Pentecostal Christianity in Papua New Guinea in this space is really interesting and something that quite a lot of my colleagues have written about, me less. As I mentioned, the prayer warriors, there's often an emphasis on exorcism of evil spirits and so forth. So certainly those beliefs get merged together with the beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery.
[00:33:26] Sarah Jack: Yeah. It's Josh, which of the films were we watching yesterday on YouTube? 
[00:33:33] Josh Hutchinson: Everybody's Business.
[00:33:34] Sarah Jack: Yeah, 
[00:33:35] Miranda Forsyth: Oh, yeah. 
[00:33:36] Sarah Jack: And I noticed, I was very intrigued by the fear of a Dracula and how some of the interviewed persons said, "we don't really know who he is or what he is or what she is," but it is a feared thing. That's very interesting that something that they don't really understand has such a grip.
[00:33:58] Miranda Forsyth: The thing that we know about witchcraft beliefs or witchcraft doubts, I think that there's a really interesting movement to change that around and to show how really what witchcraft is about is more doubting, it's uncertainty. We don't exactly know what's going on, what's causing it, and so that makes it such a flexible, malevolent thing that can metamorphosize and become very, very modern. It can take concepts like Dracula and somehow permeate through them and make them into something that is scary, but unknown and unknowable. And that increases its power. We also hear things about mobile phones being used for sorcery and parliaments where witches go and sit and discuss and plot.
So there's lots and lots of these tropes of modernity, if you like, that are very much brought into the discourse around witchcraft and sorcery in Papua New Guinea. So the idea about Dracula, I think that was a few years ago. I don't know if that's still the case now, but these different ideas come and go and they're all part of that same generalized fear of the supernatural.
[00:35:14] Josh Hutchinson: Really hearing a lot of similarities between what we've heard about other parts of the world from Dr. Leo Igwe, for example, has told us about Africa using the witch planes now. So they're integrating modern technologies into belief and just the causes and even similarities to early modern European witch hunts. When you talk about all the factors that have to be in play, that's exactly what we saw with something like Salem. And a lot of the reasons, underlying reasons behind the accusations were the same. I'm wondering if you could if you're seeing the same kinds of similarities or if there's more, is it, are there more differences than that I'm not picking up on.
[00:36:09] Miranda Forsyth: No, I see lots of similarities as well. Really interestingly, I was reading some work by Will Pooley. Has been looking at the witchcraft accusations in France, I think up until 1940. Starting from early modern periods up until quite recently, and I just kept on circling everything and saying, yes, this really resonates, this really resonates, the way in which the doubts and the fears change, the way in which the courts are uncertain. The justice system has had to shift in terms of how to address the problem, but it still creates problems and uncertainty. In Papua New Guinea, they repealed the Sorcery Act 1971 in 2013, but still people will talk about the Sorcery Repeal Act, as if that's a new act that's intended to repeal sorcery.
And it's, there's just been a tremendous amount of confusion about it. People feeling if the government isn't going to be protecting us against this, then who will? And therefore that then, in a way, gives legitimacy to to vigilantism. And I think that those were also some of the real dilemmas that apparently, according to the historical record, that judges and other criminal justice figures were having to deal with back in those days, as well. Because what do police do if somebody comes to them and says, I'm really concerned that this person caused that particular death and is going to keep on causing deaths in my community, police officer, we need help. That's a very difficult position for a police officer to be in. They've got the law, which says, there is no such crime as sorcery. And yet they know that if they don't do something, then it's likely that people will just take the law into their own hands. These dilemmas are very, very real and I think that they were very real back in the day, as well.
So I was also reading that people were using. Again, back in France, people were using the law of defamation or slander as a way of trying to clear their names. And that's something that's been happening in Papua New Guinea, as well. Interestingly, I think a slightly more than it was in the past, I've been, again, looking through the court database, and there seem to be an increasing number of successful cases where people are able to go to the court and the court will make a statement.
But still you ask the question, does that always put those doubts to rest? Does it make the person entirely safe? Maybe not. But if the consequence of actually articulating those suspicions are that you have to pay a fine, then it might stop people from publicly articulating them. And so that then means that the risk of that kind of mob violence is lessened.
[00:39:14] Sarah Jack: One of the things that I'm thinking about that you know are a pattern over the ages is this attributing sorcery witchcraft to deaths that, in the 17th century in the American colonies, many of the women who were accused, even hanged, they were connected to a death somehow, and listening to Everybody's Business, these deaths that are happening are part of their regular, experience that there's deaths always coming for unfortunate reasons to the circumstances of the society.
Death is so permanent. It's so devastating to these families, to the communities. It's a severe, severe misfortune, and it's coming to terms with that. This is just the innocent ending of a life. How do you overcome that in a community?
[00:40:13] Miranda Forsyth: I think that's a really important point, Sarah. I think that it goes to the trauma that people often feel that when they're grieving and there aren't trauma counselors in Papua New Guinea. There isn't a lot of support for people who have children, for example, who die.
And one way then of somehow getting rid of those terrible feelings of despair and hurt is to make this accusation. It seems to be a way, of releasing that torture that they're going through in a way that they can't in any other way. So I think that that is a really important insight.
So I've spoken a lot about the causes and the drivers and the sort of the momentum that pushes these accusations and this violence to occur, but I haven't yet spoken about any of the interventions, which I think is an also a really important part of the story. The thing that really drives me, I think to working in Papua New Guinea on this topic, which is such a a horrific topic in many ways, is the extraordinary.
Commitment of so many individuals across the country to try to do something about the issue, to step in to do prevention campaigns, to rescue people who have been accused, and then to try to work with victims and to rehabilitate them. So one of the, in terms of I suppose early interventions, we found what seems to be quite successful is being able to work with, so whoever the sort of the activist is being able to work with the family, the direct family, of the dead person.
So say for example, you've got a situation where there's been a death in the family Then going to the family members and saying to them, it might be that there will be an accusation of sorcery as a result of this death. And it's really important that you guys stand up and say, we're not going to be making accusations of sorcery, so the activist needs to work with those family members, cuz those family members will have the moral authority to say no in a way that nobody else has that authority.
And so if they are able to be convinced that, yeah, that's not a path that we want to go down, then that can stop that accusation from happening right at the outset. So that means that, for example, working with health workers is really, really important, because the way that they communicate the information about sickness and death can really either set the whole thing on a path where it's likely that there will be violence, or it can really try to mitigate the risk of violence. They're a really important sector that probably haven't been sufficiently brought into the work of advocacy, as yet, certainly not in Papua New Guinea, although it has that has started. So there was one workshop done with health workers and it was a really eyeopening experience. So we're hoping that that will be continued. So that's one kind of strategy that's being used. 
Also the village court magistrates, so village courts are the lowest level of the formal justice system in Papua New Guinea, and they also have a lot of moral authority in the community, and they're able to do things such as issue preventative orders to say, okay, people are not allowed to to start to take the law into their own hands. That can also work in some context. 
Some communities have got together and have said, this is such a problem for us, that we're creating our own community bylaws. And so we're saying that there will not be any accusations of witchcraft in our community. And if there are, then people have to pay a certain fine. So they might also try to say we're not gonna do tribal fighting, and there's not gonna be gambling, and there's not gonna be drinking after 10 o'clock at night, and these kind of rules that work for the community. But often then they'll include sorcery accusations as part of those.
Then we also find that it's a question of trying many different messages and having many different voices speaking those messages generally, in order for the the violence to stop. But once things get to a certain point, then there's very little that that can be done to stop it at that point. That's when it's a matter of going in and trying to rescue, and that's where we find the police working with civil society organizations is of critical importance. The police officers are unable to do that alone, but working with that local knowledge means that even though it involves taking some risks, they are, and they have been able to successfully rescue a lot of people. it's unfortunate that it does require people often putting their lives at risk. And we've just seen some extraordinary acts of bravery, both by activists and by police officers on a regular basis. 
So the police are often chastised for not doing enough in Papua New Guinea in relation to this issue. And there's no doubt that there are a lot of failings and there's a lot of challenges. But. I think it's also really important to identify that there are individual police officers who, on a regular basis, go way beyond the call of duty, in order to rescue people in the throes of these kind of violent attacks.
And they use all kinds of strategies in order to do then also a lot of the survivors themselves, when we've talked about, what, what happened, how did you get away? They've told us quite extraordinary stories, too, of their real ingenuity and creativity in somehow smuggling mobile phones in and contacting people and the kinds of stories that they've told in order to get people to release them. It's a testimony to the bravery, again, of those men and women, and some of them as well, who talk about the fact that they're being tortured, and they're asked to name others, and they refuse. And again, I just cannot imagine what level of bravery that requires. For a lot of them, their Christian faith is very important. And they talk about that as being something that, that somehow sustains them through it.
And then afterwards, for the survivors, this is a very, very difficult situation. Because as I said, survivors are often so vulnerable, so much at risk of reaccusation. And how do you go back into a community where people have been involved in causing that kind of extreme pain on you? This is for those who do survive. 
So we've found that some some programs will offer safe houses for survivors to go to with their families. But that's a kind of a short term solution, and it's it's a bit unsatisfactory. It's absolutely necessary, but it's only one part of the solution.
Then other NGOs have developed programs really to give a sort of a startup pack again for somebody, who then they will move with their family into the capital city, for example, , or down to another place, which, which can work. But sometimes as well, there is a precarity because stories do follow people and it's hard to recreate a whole new identity.
 That issue of reintegration is a real problem. We've found successful cases of reintegration occur when there's been quite a lot of work done with the community and with the people who have done the accusation and the perpetrators as well. And the people who accuse and the people who are the perpetrators are not always the same. But when there is what appears to be a genuine expression of remorse, when there is a payment that's been made in a customary way, it's called a compensation payment in Papua New Guinea, and that's a way that a lot of disputes are resolved, so when that customary payment has been made, when the survivor is somewhat emotionally ready to return, and there is support from the pastors, the village court magistrates, and the police, like everybody together saying, okay, "this reintegration is happening, this person is here," and the police say, "we're watching, we've got our eyes on this person, and we are gonna be coming back, and we're gonna be checking that she or he or that family is okay." In those circumstances, we've found that reintegration can be successful.
I've just got a colleague who is visiting here from Hela Province in Papua New Guinea, and he has just started identifying the major problem of SARV in his province. His province is known primarily for tribal fighting. But he says actually SARV is a major problem there as well. And And he was struggling with the thought of what do I do for these for these victims?
Some are mothers who have just given birth like the day before who have to flee into the bushes. And he was sinking, okay, I want to build a safe house, but I'm gonna build a safe house in the epicenter of the SARV accusations. I'm going to build a safe house as a challenge to the community to say it's not the right thing to do. And he's got a group of young men who have decided that they are going to defend that safe house. Whoever the victims are who come, they're going to defend them. And they're building around that safe house a garden, a huge garden that will support the safe house, that will give a mean of in means of income for the people who live there, so that it will be a sustainable safe house. They're also building a library, so hopefully they can do education of the community. And I think they're building a soccer field as well, so that, again, there can be social events that can occur. And we've seen that quite often, that communities, when they're starting an initiative to try to counter a social problem like SARV, then they'll often think about what is the economic dimension to this? What is the social dimension to this? 
[00:51:20] Sarah Jack: It's so hopeful, because of all the elements that they're incorporating in for protecting the accused and the rehabilitation. I couldn't help but think about the Ghana witch camps while you were talking about refugees of, short term protection, but then integration like all of those pieces are real issues. And we see that the long-term refugee camps aren't offering the survivors a way to get back into society and to find purpose and strength and their dignity. So I'm really excited to hear this effort in this community. I think it sounds very promising and it's giving people a reason to band together for the good.
 Memorialization is like a really important effort in some parts of the country right now, some parts of the world right now, where most witch hunting and accused are a part of the historic past and remembrance, tributes, having a way to pay tribute to ancestors, if, that kind of thing is really big part of what's happening in the United States and Connecticut and in Scotland they're trying. How does memorialization work in a situation where there is so much current accusation and violence? Is there a purpose for it? Is there a way that it could be beneficial?
[00:52:56] Miranda Forsyth: Yeah, that's a really interesting question and as soon as you were saying that, what sprung to mind for me was the efforts by an activist Ruth Kissam, who heard about, I mentioned that case of Leniata Kepari. She's a woman from Enga, and she found that Leniata Kepari's remains had been in the morgue in the hospital for a year, and she just decided, this isn't right. I'm not going to let this happen, and so she went and she got the remains, and she buried her, and she made a sign and a plaque. And that was a really important moment for the movement. It really was somebody stepping up and saying, "this woman has got a right to be buried, and we should all like grieve for her and we should all feel the sorrow for what happened to her."
And I think that, although that's just been the only one that I know of, it was very powerful, and Ruth has gone on to be an extraordinary activist for this cause. And so I think there probably is a role for that a little bit more. There's been a regular movement as well called the Haus Krai Movement, which is intended to raise awareness, not just about SARV, but also about gender-based violence.
And so that's another way in which that happens on a regular basis, but probably there needs to be more of that kind of memorialization that occurs, because everybody, it seems, knows somebody who has lost somebody because of SARV. It is such a pervasive issue, unfortunately, in Papua New Guinea.
I haven't spoken about the Papua New Guinea national Action Plan. So the National Action Plan was developed in 2015, and that was really intended to take a holistic approach to say, you can't just think about this issue as a law and order issue. It's not, although it is, there, there's all of these different things. You need to have the education part, you need to have the health sector part, you need to have the care and counseling part, you need to have the research part. And so it was a really exciting plan that was promoted. It's been driven by the Department of Justice and Attorney General, by the leadership of some really fantastic women for a long time now. Getting on for a decade of work on that.
And so the the plan, of course, like many plans in developing countries, has really suffered from a lack of funding. But what has kept it going and what has kept SARV on the agenda, I think has been the sort of this core committee that met for many years. It fell down a little bit during Covid, but it's being resurrected now. That just kept on saying, this is an issue. Hey, is there any funding available for doing any programs under the plan, even though the plan was not being funded by the government, although there more recently, it just has started to be funded to an extent, which is fantastic. There were these individuals motivated, looking for ways that they could access fund to do different activities underneath the plan.
And for example the Australian government has been funding a series of trainings on how to deal with SARV for the police and for the village court magistrates. My colleague, William Kipongi, in Papua New Guinea just recently attended one of those trainings and presented our research findings. There were 30 senior police officers who were there for a week working through these issues, understanding the way in which the law works. There was a recent amendment to the law last year that specifically targets glassman and glassmeri and also makes accusations of witchcraft or sorcery a criminal offense.
And so talking them through how to go about charging people and the prosecution process, these are really important developments that have occurred. And the aim of that core committee and of the plan itself is to ensure that this is a holistic response, but also that everybody who is working on the issue in Papua New Guinea is on the same page.
If everybody does these isolated little initiatives, that's not actually going to lead to transformative change. But if they can be joined together, can be working with each other, sharing insights, spreading the same message, then we know that that is how change occurs. And so I think that that central coordinating role is a really important one.
The challenge now is to make sure that it develops roots that go really down to the very, very local levels, and that part is probably still missing and is the next stage of development, I really hope.
[00:58:14] Josh Hutchinson: I know that Papua Gua is one of the most, if not the most culturally and linguistically diverse nations in the world. And how does that present challenges? Are people able to work through those issues generally?
[00:58:33] Miranda Forsyth: Yeah. I believe it is the most culturally and linguistically diverse country. There's over 800 different languages. It's just extraordinary. And that is, I think, also what characterizes the Papua New Guinean people of their enormous creativity and inventive spirit and the way in which they are able to hold multiple different perspectives in their heads at one time.
I'm always inspired to think in much more flexible ways. Although of course I end up returning to my sort of Western lawyer trained sort of Cartesian mindset, but then I'm challenged to get out of that and to try to see things from different perspectives. And I think that it is that ability to see things from different perspectives that mean that we haven't found that any workshops, for example, it's been a problem that people have got these different cultural beliefs.
Interestingly, often people will find the cultural beliefs, the sort of the witchcraft, the sorcery cultural beliefs from other places to be quite strange. And they'll say, oh, I believe that, but then it doesn't, it doesn't mean that they don't hold their own beliefs, which the others think are just really strange any less strongly. I haven't done enough research into finding out, like I should do some interviews to find out, oh, did learning that different people have got these different beliefs, does that change how you feel about these things? I imagine they, that it wouldn't, I think we all know that people believe different things, but as I've said, witchcraft doesn't all just happen in the brain.
There's an emotional dimension to it as well that I think we really need to pay cognizance to.
[01:00:17] Josh Hutchinson: The fear is very real and how deeply it affects you. It's such a, a foundational belief, how you view the world.
[01:00:28] Miranda Forsyth: It structures people's lives in very profound ways.
[01:00:31] Sarah Jack: How can we ask our listeners to help? How can we ask, the population of the globe to get involved personally, and I was thinking today while you were talking, there are folks who have very specific skills and influence and pull, maybe in the healthcare industry, how can those people who wanna be able to use that influence support these efforts?
[01:00:59] Miranda Forsyth: I suppose get in touch with me, and I can contact them with people who are working in that space. There is a group of scholars who are working with colleagues in Papua New Guinea to try to develop a program that would train those frontline healthcare workers in order to be able to better address concerns about sorcery and better communicate causes of death and sickness in ways that are going to alleviate the problem of sorcery accusations.
So that's, a program that I really hope does get funding. I know that they're putting in an application for that now, but I think that support in that way, developing materials, that can be used in that kind of training program is important. But often what we find again, and again and again, is that outside initiatives are not gonna be very effective. It needs to be something that is generated by those who are on the ground, who understand, who have that absolute local knowledge and legitimacy. But what outsiders can do is to support those people who are on the ground. So I call this inside-outside networked change. You've got those insiders who are then connected with outsiders, who then can network in ways that can lead to this more transformative change.
And we're starting to see that happening in Papua New Guinea, a lot of NGOs for example, and a lot of the churches, as well, who are doing very good things are connected then with outsiders and able to provide emotional, support for the case of the church people, spiritual support, and also resources, in order to keep that work going. So I think that finding out what are those local initiatives where are they working, how do they need help, having that conversation, listening, not assuming that outsiders have got the answers, as we unfortunately have a strong history of doing, but really listening. What help do you need? Then that is the way to support what's going on, I think in Papua New Guinea.
I should also say that as part of the international network, one of the things that we're planning to do is to hold a conference next year in Lancaster again. So there was one in 2019, and again professor Charlotte Baker is the one, together with Dr. Sam Spence, who is leading this. And hopefully that will also raise a whole lot more awareness. And historically we haven't had much engagement from the US in these issues. And it would be fantastic to have more involvement, because I think that there's a lot that each can learn about, what's happening today, what's happened in the past but also I read a case in the US where there was a pastor who accused members of his congregation of being witches. It doesn't seem to me that it is such , a farfetched thing to think that it does occur, although in a very, very hidden way, in the United States, even today. 
In the UK, they've started paying attention to the issue of what they call child abuse linked to spiritual possession. And they now are documenting like, I think over a thousand cases a year of that kind of abuse of children, because you know of the belief in witchcraft. And these are contemporary issues that are in the center of the western world, as well as in places such as Papua New Guinea.
So all of us coming together and seeing it as a problem really that that comes from the unfortunate human tendency to blame others to seek to scapegoat when things go wrong, rather than to try to work as a community to, to address problems. Yeah, there, there's probably a lot of benefit in that.
[01:05:02] Josh Hutchinson: Yes, we do have a lot of that in the U.S. What you talked about. There's a lot of belief. We spoke with Boris Gershman about his report on witchcraft belief in the world.
[01:05:16] Miranda Forsyth: Such great work that he's done.
[01:05:18] Josh Hutchinson: So brilliant. And but he estimated that or calculated that 16% of the US population believes in this harmful power of witchcraft. And so it's very real. We do hear cases from time to time that get into the media about someone accusing someone of witchcraft and unfortunately attacking them. And so it's not entirely foreign to the US. It's something that we have to deal with on our own, and hopefully raising more awareness of that can have some impact.
And we're looking at ways that we can help with making the American public aware of what's going on internationally, because everybody that we meet is so surprised to hear what's occurring, even though we see it from time to time in our own country.
[01:06:24] Miranda Forsyth: Mm. Yeah, absolutely. That's the thing as well that I've found that again and again, people say, oh my goodness, it's the 21st century and this is happening. And I say it's the 21st century, that's why it's happening. Like these things are very much a result of pressures of modernity on communities and that this unfortunately is a symptom of those pressures. And, the trajectory of the world everywhere seems to be signifying that there is going to be more uncertainty, more precarity, more poverty. And so the likelihood of these kind of accusations is going to be intensified. And the thing with a sorcery accusation is that you take an already unfortunate situation and then you put a sorcery accusation in and it just makes it 10 times worse.
Like for example, we think about refugee camps. Already these are places of extreme misery, and yet they're documenting, Accusations of sorcery happening within those camps. This is just a major, major problem. And again, it's one of those things that it is a little bit, as I said, like wildfire. It's contagious. It expands. And so that's why working on prevention is so absolutely critical. And there's not enough work on prevention that's occurring, because people will ignore it as a problem until it gets out of control and then the genie is out of the bottle and it's very difficult to do something about it.
So I totally commend what you guys are doing in terms of raising awareness of the problem. I hope that more people do pay attention to it. We really hope that the That the resolution, the UN resolution, and the expert report, and their recommendations are really taken up by nation states across the world.
It would be great if the US also put significant attention into that to see what could be done there. Papua New Guinea was listed as one of the five countries under the US Global Fragility Act. And that means that it is a target for support for the US government over the next 10 years. It's a really fantastic new way of thinking about doing development and doing conflict prevention in a number of countries across the world. And I really hope that ending SARV could be one of the contributions of the US through that global Fragility Act.
[01:08:51] Josh Hutchinson: So I'm thinking one thing Americans can do is contact their elected officials in Washington and say, "hey, this is going on. You need to be aware of this, and you need to be doing something about it."
[01:09:07] Miranda Forsyth: Yeah. And if they want like directions as to what needs to be done about it, that expert report that's come out has got a whole lot of really fantastic recommendations that can be followed. So we've put all of those things on the website. You could encourage your listeners to go and to have a look at our website.
[01:09:25] Josh Hutchinson: That's an excellent point. And that website is so wonderful. It's full of those resources. You have, the Papua New Guinea National Action Plan, the Pan-African Parliament Guidelines, and those really also talk about the steps you outlined, the holistic approach and what needs to be done.
[01:09:49] Sarah Jack: And now Mary Bingham is back for a Minute with Mary. 
 
[01:10:00] Mary Bingham: I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was young. She was the one who provided me with the gift of music and family research. I still have the cassette tapes of her telling me her childhood stories about her abusive stepfather, her passive mother, my wonderful grandfather, and so many other life stories which held my interest. Grammy was a great storyteller. 
One other thing we did together from time to time was to use the Ouija board. Yes, we allegedly conjured up some of my grandfather's Irish ancestors to ask them from which county in Ireland they immigrated, but I digress. On another occasion, I was sitting on Grammy's couch with my foot on a nearby empty rocking chair. I started to rock the empty chair. You would've thought I committed the gravest sin known to humankind. Grammy turned to me with a very stern look on her face and a bit of fire in her deep set eyes, placed her index finger over her tightly pursed lips, all the while motioning me to stop rocking the empty chair with her other hand. I was too scared and too young to question her. Today, more than 40 years later, I know why, and it simply does not make sense. Grammy thought I was inviting evil spirits into her house. If she didn't want the evil spirits in her house, then why did she enjoy playing with the Ouija board periodically? Wouldn't using that contraption do the same thing? So here's a prime example as to why superstitions are certainly not logically based.
Let's travel to Papua New Guinea for a moment. Michael Wesch, a resident of Papua New Guinea, six years ago told a story of a man named Codinine, a very active, healthy man living in a local village. Codinine suddenly became ill with a swollen stomach and thinning arms. Because the superstitions of witchcraft were very real to Codinine, he thought witches shot him with an invisible arrow in the stomach, then assaulted him at night and ate the flesh from his arms. Instead of seeing a healthcare professional, Codinine saught the treatment of a shaman. 
The residents of this village in Papua New Guinea are interdependent community. The people rely on each other to survive, building strong communal relationships. The shaman told Codinine that someone in his community, who prepared a sweet potato as part of a communal meal, performed witchcraft on a small part of the potato before handing it over for consumption. According to the shaman, Codinine ate the bewitched part of the potato.
Long story short, Codinine died from this illness. Someone could have been accused of performing witchcraft, but luckily Michael Wesch stepped in. Using what he calls a reasonable and empathic approach, Michael and his father agreed to compensate Codinine's family to restore the community. Lives were saved, though sadly, Codinine's was not. If Codinine had received scientific medical intervention, he may also still be alive today.
Thank you.
 
[01:13:40] Sarah Jack: Thank you, Mary.
[01:13:42] Josh Hutchinson: Now here's Sarah with End Witch Hunts News.
 
[01:13:52] Sarah Jack: End Witch Hunts, a Nonprofit 501(c)(3), Weekly News Update. The following quote is from the wildfire story map that Miranda mentioned in today's episode. Quote, "sorcery accusation-related violence is a worldwide phenomenon. The deaths, mutilations, displacement, and stigmatization arising from accusations of sorcery are often hidden. It's time for a large-scale, coordinated response to what are not unique, one-off incidents, but in fact a wildfire of sorcery accusation -related violence. There is an urgent need for courageous and consistent public leadership," end quote. 
How do we engage influential individuals in collective action against modern witch hunts? How do we motivate them to use purposeful and additional efforts to stop accusations against alleged witches? We start by talking about the facts, teaching the reality, and seeing ourselves as influencers. 
The impact of this violence is real and deep on precious families in our world. Instead of thinking of these victims as strangers, who certainly experience different evil and look differently, strangers who must believe differently about the supernatural and sound differently, and strangers who clearly live differently and have different rituals and traditions, intentionally think about them as part of a precious family.
 Is your family precious? When we look at the witch trial stories like the one of Rebecca Nurse from Salem in 1692, do we think her family was precious? What about Sarah, Dorothy, and Dorothy Good Jr? Do we believe that was a precious family? We do. The families that you heard about in today's episodes are precious and need our help. When a mother, father, or child is targeted in sorcery accusation violence, the family unit is traumatized. The harm alters them forever. They need help from influential persons that can stand with them and help them intercede. Who are the influential persons that can intercede? Who are the influential persons that can stand with them? It's me. It's you. It's us. 
Take action in the specific ways that you know you can today. Join organized groups of people who are working as advocates against witchcraft fear and sorcery accusation-related violence. These advocates are people like you and me. They are people across the globe from different cultures, different religions, and with different skills and professions, but they're coming together to protect the vulnerable. This diversity gives us strength. 
No one else advocating is just like you. What you hold back will be missing from the work. Please join us with your particular personal contribution. If you can contribute money, do it now. If you can write about what's happening, do it now. If you can talk about it from the front of your classroom or sanctuary, do it at your next meeting. If you can help your friends understand witch hunting over pizza and drinks, wait no longer. Get the word out, that violence against women, men, and children is seeped in witchcraft and sorcery fears. You have heard specific ways that you can start advocating. You do not have to wait to get involved. It is everybody's business to take a stand against the violence humans endure due to the supernatural fears of other humans. 
Today's guest, Miranda Forsyth, has created a story map to help us better understand sorcery accusation-related violence. She portrays it as a wildfire that starts small but can become a raging inferno with sparks spreading to ignite fires everywhere. The story map draws upon her research into the levels of harm and nature of the victims, as well as highlighting how much fire can be effectively fought and ideally prevented. Go to our show notes today and click the link to the story map. Please be warned that the real life content is graphic and upsetting and conveys the extremity of the violence that is occurring.
Thou Shalt Not Suffer podcast is a project of End Witch Hunts organization. End Witch Hunts has specific projects to effectively fight these fires. We seek to prevent them in the future. We educate the public about witch hunts past and present and work to identify witch-hunt mentalities and prevent injustice. We actively work to End Witch Hunts every day, when we bring awareness through our social media channels and writing, when we offer education through podcasting, when we team up and seek innocent alleged witch exoneration and build memorialization with community partners, when we advocate for responsive public policies and additional efforts from government, when we address witchcraft fear. Partner with us as volunteers. Financially support these active initiatives with your giving. Visit endwitchhunts.org to make a tax deductible contribution. You can also support us by purchasing books from our bookshop, merch from our Zazzle shop, or by subscribing as a Thou Shalt Not Suffer Podcast super listener for as little as $3 a month at thoushaltnotsuffer.com.
Keep your eye on our Zazzle store, as we're getting ready to offer some great new designs. Sport one of our awesome shirts and introduce people to the podcast or one of our projects by leaving your house looking cool.
 
[01:18:38] Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Sarah.
[01:18:40] Sarah Jack: You're welcome.
[01:18:42] Josh Hutchinson: And thank you for listening to Thou Shall Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast.
[01:18:46] Sarah Jack: Join us next week.
[01:18:49] Josh Hutchinson: Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
[01:18:52] Sarah Jack: See our full episode catalog at thoushaltnotsuffer.com
[01:18:57] Josh Hutchinson: Remember to tell your friends, family, and neighbors.
[01:19:01] Sarah Jack: Support our efforts to end sorcery accusation-related violence.
[01:19:05] Josh Hutchinson: Visit endwitchhunts.org to learn more.
[01:19:10] Sarah Jack: Please rate and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you're listening.
[01:19:14] Josh Hutchinson: And have a great today and a beautiful tomorrow. 

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