Shame and scandal: #MeToo movement nuns speak out

The #MeToo movement has prompted nuns to come forward with complaints about sexual abuse and rape by priests.

According to the Associated Press, cases of abused nuns have emerged in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.

These cases demonstrate the problem is global and pervasive, thanks to the sisters’ second-class status in the church and their ingrained subservience to the men who run it, Associated Press says.

Sisters are now going public, partly to denounce years of inaction by church leaders.

They say major studies on the problem in Africa were reported to the Vatican in the 1990s.

One nun says she no longer goes to confession regularly after an Italian priest forced himself on her while she was recounting her sins to him in a university classroom.

At the time of the incident 20 years ago, the sister said she told only her provincial superior and her spiritual director.

She felt silenced by the Church’s culture of secrecy, her vows of obedience and her own fear, repulsion and shame.

“It [the abuse] opened a great wound inside of me,” she says. “I pretended it didn’t happen.”

Although the extent of priests’ abuse of nuns is unknown, this week five former nuns of the Congregation of the Good Samaritan in Chile made a public statement about their abuse.

They say they reported a series of sexual abuses committed by priests visiting their community, which is dedicated to caring for the sick.

The former nuns say both sexual abuse and the abuse of authority occurred inside their congregation and they were mistreated when they reported the incidents to their superior.

Experts say the victims are reluctant to report the abuse because of well-founded fears they won’t be believed.


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