Words by Cristina Cala.
It’s October 31 and there are women among us who are witches. Witchcraft as we think we know it might inspire a powerful image of woman in total control of herself, but it’s important to relearn history and the ways witchcraft is in fact a negative social construction around indigenous people. In this highly political moment, where institutions steeped in white supremacy are struggling to control narratives that don’t belong to them, women have recognized they possess powers to ignite movements. And it makes the patriarchy tremble.
Like the casting of indigenous people as deviant, those who defy the status quo are punished. Human rights shoulders a devastating blow in Brett Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, but we witnessed the fear. Discovering your own powers threatens the patriarchy. When you recognize your own magic, you may find yourself so empowered, nothing can stop you from using it. It could be the jump to manifest that risky career milestone, a call to social justice, to speak out loud, or look inward to face the monster that scares you most. Our powers are often realized when we reach a boiling point, and we’ve had plenty to be mad about. For the editorial staff at The Why Women Project, the reminder that we all possess this power serves as a necessary affirmation in a turbulent month.
A lot happened this October, from the one-year anniversary of the New York Times breaking the silence on alleged serial rapist Harvey Weinstein on Oct. 5 to the fall of 425 powerful figures accused of sexual misconduct, a result of the #metoo tsunami that followed. But a year later, despite multiple sexual misconduct allegations, Kavanaugh is not one of the fallen. The movement that gave Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and two other women the courage to come forward against him—with Blasey Ford’s wrenching, familiar account of a teenage Kavanaugh attempting to rape her at a high school party—has not infiltrated the Senate. Sexual assault survivors and their advocates can’t help but wonder what has really changed when senators voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court for life. Are we really surprised by the pick of a POTUS who 22 women have accused of the same?
Ominously, October is Domestic Violence Month.
It’s also LGBT History Month, the celebratory air of which the White House crushed with a leaked memo that threatened the legal protections of transgender people under federal law. If the proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services were enacted, gender would be defined according to genitalia at birth, a clear form of gender discrimination and erasure of trans, nonbinary and intersex people.
October saw pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats who are frequent targets of Trump, who this month dubbed himself a nationalist. Domestic terrorist attacks with 11 dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue and two black senior citizens killed in a Kentucky shooting being investigated as a hate crime. Ten minutes before the white suspect shot the victims, he attempted to enter a black Baptist church.
But amid the hauntings and heartbreak soup that is the current state of human rights and democracy, the message is that women are powerful. The marginalized will not be erased. A coven of witches is brewing a slow-stewed boil steeped with the triggering pain of reliving sexual assault and violence against people of color, faith and gender expression simply for freely living. In the face of October’s injustices, women, trans people, Jewish people and their allies rally in their communities. Blasey Fords everywhere commit selfless acts of service to protect women despite the personal consequences. Women are fully stocked with an anger so deeply resonant, it has the power to keep us going. It will be a scary Halloween only for those who fear our voices.
Editor, The Why Women Project