Written by Ashley Koh

What happened?

A brave movement that went viral after sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein came to light has reached the Vatican. An examination by the Associated Press (AP) found numerous cases of sexual abuse of nuns all around the world, indicating that the problem is widespread within the Catholic Church worldwide. Due to the tradition of nun’s expected subservience to the men who run the Catholic Church as well as the sister’s feeling of shame and fear of possible repercussion, many cases of sexual abuse have gone unheard. However, nuns have found their voices after seeking courage from the #MeToo movement, exposing priests or even senior nuns that have sexually abused the nuns under them. Unfortunately, the saddest part about this, is that it is not a new problem the Church is facing.


In India, a police report was filed by a sister of the Missionaries of Jesus against a bishop who raped her in May 2014 and subsequently sexually abused her around a dozen more times over a span of 2 years. However, the bishop denied all allegations and retorted that the sister was retaliating against him for having taken disciplinary action against her for her own sexual transgressions.


In Chile, a Chilean state broadcaster exposed a huge case of sexual misconduct which involved accusations of priests fondling and kissing nuns, with some while naked, as well as junior nuns being sexually abused by their senior female counterparts. The victims reported the traumatizing incident to their superior, who did nothing.


Will the Church protect the vulnerable?

You decide. The Vatican has refused to state what actions it would take to evaluate the scope of the problem globally and if any justice would be served for the offenders and care provided to the victims. An official from the Vatican mentioned that it is the jurisdiction of the local church leaders to decide the fate of the alleged sexual offenders. However, history has proven that these crimes often go unpunished. The Church has always advocated for unconditional love and care for the weak, hopefully they practice what they preach, for “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”.

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