Sexual abuse by men preaching religion has been a common phenomenon for many years now. And while all victims do not get justice, some do not even get heard, or believed on the stories of abuse they tell authorities.
A recent report by Associated Press shows that across India, the nuns talk of priests who pushed into their bedrooms and of priests who pressured them to turn close friendships into sex. They talk about being groped and kissed, of hands pressed against them by men they were raised to believe were representatives of Jesus Christ.
This has been prevalent in every part of the world, including the Vatican being aware of nuns sexually abused by priests and bishops in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa, but it has done very little to stop it. The women allege they were groped and kissed by men they were raised to believe were representatives of Jesus Christ.
After AP investigated the situation in India, they uncovered horrific details and uncovered a decades-long history of nuns enduring sexual abuse from within the church. Nuns described in detail the sexual pressure they endured from priests, and nearly two dozen other people — nuns, former nuns and priests, and others — said they had direct knowledge of such incidents.
Speaking up can also risk financial troubles, since many congregations of nuns are financially subservient to priests and bishops. The silence is magnified in India by demographics, religious politics and a deep-seated belief that women have little value.
There are roughly 18 million Catholics in India, but that’s a small minority in this largely Hindu nation of 1.3 billion. Speaking up could tarnish the image of their church, many nuns worry, and feed criticism by Hindu disciplinarian.
This kind of abuse in not just the church, but other religious institutions as well. Several clergymen and priests have abused their female counterparts, and this has been recorded in news reports too. Cases of rape and sexual assault keep surfacing, and most of them get hushed and swept under the rug before they come out in the open.
The stories that were investigated had testimonials from nuns who said that as they were subjected to several heinous sexual crimes including rape, seldom were they believed or even allowed to speak of sex – it being a forbidden topic to speak out in a religious sanctum.
It is time every single woman from any background was heard, and believed because it is easy to shrug off what they have been through by accusing them of lying or simply turning a deaf ear, but it is sure not easy when the truth – however ugly it may be – comes out in the open, and the authorities are forced to speak about it.