Nuns worldwide prosecute claims for sexual assault

NunsNuns are silhouetted in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Some nuns are now finding their voices, buoyed by the #MeToo movement and the growing recognition that adults can be victims of sexual abuse when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. The sisters are going public in part because of years of inaction by church leaders, even after major studies on the problem in Africa were reported to the Vatican in the 1990s. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

It’s not only babies and children the priests are going after.Nuns from all over the world are now prosecuting priests and bishops for sexual assault.


A survey conducted by the news agency AP has shown that there have been cases of sexually abused nuns in Europe, Africa,South America and Asia, demonstrating that the problem is global and consistently due to the status of nuns in the church, and their submissiveness to the men who run it.

A nun in India has recently reported a bishop for rape,which just a few years ago would have been unthinkable.

But because of the ‘MeToo’ movement, and a greater recognition that adults can also be victims of abuse,now some nuns are beginning to talk loudly about abuse.

Quit writing

An African woman, who does not want to be named,told the AP news agency that she was abused almost 20 years ago when she wrote to him.

The assault, in addition to a similar incident with another priest later, meant that she stopped writing.

‘’It opened a big hole in me. I pretended it did not happen,’’she said.

This week, six nuns also appeared on national television in Chile, where they told their stories of abuse and how their leaders did not do anything to stop it.

Big report

Already, in a major report of the 1990s, the Vatican was made aware of the problem of sexual assault against nuns in Africa,without doing anything.

In 1994, sister Maura O’Donohue wrote a report on a survey conducted in 23 countries over six years, revealing, among other things, that 29 nuns had become pregnant in one congregation.

The report revealed that nuns were regarded as “safe” sexual partners for priests who feared HIV infection from prostitutes or other women. The report was not intended to be published,but the American National Catholic Reporter published it in 2001.

Until today, the Vatican has not disclosed what, if anything,was done with the information from this material.

The Vatican has also not wanted to comment on the newer issues from this week.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today