Courageous nuns protest is historic, says Jesme

Thiruvananthapuram: Terming the ongoing nuns’ protest against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulackal as a “historical event”, former nun Jesme lauded their courage for voicing their stand against the Bishop and the authority.

Jesme quit her convent life of 33 years a decade ago when she found the acts inside the church unacceptable. After leaving the church, she also wrote an autobiography, titled ‘Amen’, where she narrated incidents of alleged sexual abuse by priests in Kerala.

While talking to ANI, Jesme revealed the nuns are not allowed to speak against the convent, thus, this event should be the beginning of the voice to be heard from other nuns too.

“Anyone who voices out their opinion is barred from the convent. That is the reason that the protesting nuns are now not part of the congregation until they stop their protest against the Bishop. Now, they might be living in the convent, but they are not supported by the congregation. I really appreciate their bravery and valour,” she told ANI.

Jesme said that fear rules the convent and added that it is because of this reason that the nun, who has levelled rape allegations against Bishop Mulackal, could not speak out earlier.

The nun has accused the Jalandhar Bishop of raping and forcing unnatural sex multiple times on her, between 2014 and 2016.

“We are supposed to take the vow of obedience. So, whenever we do or speak something, we are intervened that you shouldn’t. If the Bishop has raped the nun, it is because of this armour. Moreover, the Bishop — a person with authority — subdues you and intimidates you from time to time. This is the trick of the male, cunning people. That’s why it gets difficult for the victim to say anything against him,” said Jesme.

She also talked about Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) PC George, who stoked a controversy last week, after he termed the rape victim nun a “prostitute”.

“Gender discrimination still exists in the nunnery. That is why the nun could not speak out four years ago. People who are now saying why didn’t she, I have a question for them – even after four years when she complained, what is the plight? Look at her unendurable condition and also of the other nuns. Even an MLA is tarnishing her image,” she concluded.