RACE RELATIONS BLOG: BTK KIller...Long History of European Sadism against Women

Thursday, August 18, 2005

BTK KIller...Long History of European Sadism against Women

The witch-hunts waxed and waned for nearly three centuries, with great variations in time and space. "The rate of witch hunting varied dramatically throughout Europe, ranging from a high of 26,000 deaths in Germany to a low of 4 in Ireland." (Gibbons, Recent Developments.)

Despite the involvement of church authorities, "The vast majority of witches were condemned by secular courts," with local courts especially noted for their persecutory zeal (Gibbons, Recent Developments). The standard procedure in most countries was for accused witches to be brought before investigating tribunals and interrogated. In some parts of Europe (e.g., England), torture was rarely used; but where the witch-hunts were most intensive, it was a standard feature of the interrogations. Obviously, a large majority of accused who "confessed" to witchcraft did so as a result of the brutal tortures to which they were exposed. About half of all convicted witches were given sentences short of execution. The unluckier half were generally killed in public, often en masse, by hanging or burning.


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