Friday, February 20, 2009

Kerala nun alleges sexual harassment in convents

20 Feb 2009,PTI

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As a tell-all autobiography of a former nun revealing alleged sexual abuse threatened to embarrass the Catholic church in Kerala, the woman herself said on Friday the society has "every right" to know what is happening to Sisters.

In her memoirs in Malayalam titled "Amen" (so be it, said by Christians at the end of every prayer), 'Sister' Jesme alleged that harassment, sexual repression, exploitation of nuns by priests and clandestine same sex relations take place behind the closed doors of convents.

The Catholic Church is silent on the book and is yet to make its official response to the tell-all reminiscences of the 52-year-old Jesme holding they would react only after studying the book. But the book released two days ago is being lapped up and is selling like hotcakes.

Narrating how deeply disappointed and disillusioned she is after choosing the religious vocation on her own volition at a very young age, Jesme exposes the power struggles in the 'dark confines' of convents she had lived for about 30 years and in corridors of church administration.

An English professor and later the principal of a church-run college in Thrissur, Jesme quit the convent last year after what she said were years of 'sufferings and struggles.'

"I wanted an outlet for my experiences of my trauma...Society has every right to know what is happening to Sisters," Jesme said dismissing suggestions she has sensationalised issues to get cheap publicity.

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