Authorities in Kerala must ensure timely justice to the Kerala based nun for alleged sexual violence
Bengaluru/ New Delhi: 18 September 2018 5:41 pm
Image Credit: Zee News India
Responding to disturbing allegations of repeated instances of sexual violence faced by a Kerala-based nun, allegedly by a Bishop, and subequent smear campaigns against the survivor by the Congregation of the Missionaries of Jesus, Asmita Basu, Amnesty International India’s Programmes’ Director said:
“Revealing the identity of a survivor of sexual violence is a crime under Indian law, but to face backlash from the very community to which she has dedicated her life, is tragic. This is a blatant, and extremely unfortunate attempt, at victim naming and shaming.”
“The Indian Catholic Church, has failed to take sufficient action in the case, despite repeated appeals by the survivor. This, in itself, is a violation of the Church’s own guidelines on dealing with sexual harassment at the workplace. In addition to this, alleged threats and harassment for having the courage to report the crime, severely curtails her access to justice.”
“Authorities in Kerala have a duty to provide timely justice for survivors of rape and sexual violence. They must ensure that the survivor is given a safe avenue to seek legal redress. Prosecutors must initiate appropriate criminal proceedings against suspects and those responsible must be brought to justice at the earliest.“
In June 2018, the survivor nun, a former Superior General of her congregation, had alleged in a police complaint that a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, raped her over a period of two years, from 2014 to 2016.
The accused is being investigated for criminal offences of rape and ‘unnatural sex’ which are crimes under the Indian Penal Code. A preliminary memo filed by the investigating officer before a local court states that the police has found evidence confirming that the alleged crime did take place. Investigations have been underway for over 75 days, but no arrests have been made yet.
The serving nun has also written a letter to the Vatican stating that the accused threatened and harassed her in order to bury the investigation. Even more disturbingly, she alleged that she was not the only survivor of sexual violence in the congregation.
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