Whistleblower Sr Jesme On How The Survivor Nun Is Fighting For Everyone Who Continues To Suffer
- IWB Post
- September 13, 2018
Sister Jesme is happy to see so much of support being meted out to the nun who has been allegedly harassed by the Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal. It is something that we wouldn’t have witnessed 10 years ago. Things were worse. This explains why it has been almost ten years since she gave up the robes of the nun and decided to go out in the society.
Things were different back them. Sr Jesme had no one to turn to when she took the call. Even her own mother dodged the responsibility after she started gathering media attention.
“She was scared that the church will ban all the sacraments to my family,” said Sr Jesme, recalling the time in an interaction with The News Minute. She adds, “I was called a prostitute. That’s alright, I thought. A society may still be kind to a prostitute. But I was branded a mad woman. Who will give a mad person a job or a place to stay? If I said on a mic I am not mad, I would have been taken straight to a mental asylum. So, then I used a pen and wrote Amen, my autobiography. Its 25th version is being printed now.”
Jesme believes that the reason why the nurse who has accused Fr Mulakkal of harassment is garnering so much support is that they are others who have suffered and continue to suffer just like her and thus understand her situation on a personal level. Perhaps they are not as courageous as the said nurse though, expresses Jesme. She explains, “They consider this sister as their leader. She is not fighting for herself, she is fighting for all of them.”
Nothing about the current case surprises Jesme, not even the circulars issued by the church authorities in Kerala where they have asked nuns not to participate in the protest against the Bishop. Jesme says that the practice of silencing everyone who talks against the church has always existed.
She says, “In Catholic houses, we are not allowed to speak anything against any priest or nun. Whatever happens, we should not speak, for ‘a curse may befall us.’ In old and new testaments, there are biblical statements saying priests are holy people. So, whoever speaks against these holy people will be punished and cursed. But that is about innocent and holy priests. When the holy priests are found to be unholy, we start discussing.”
Jesme shares that even now her sister refuses to discuss the case at home.
She goes on, “They don’t want to discuss it. It is the same thing happening inside the convent. We are not supposed to speak about these things. Sr Abhaya’s case too, no one was interested to discuss it inside the convent. I used to, when I went for seminars and all. I used to tell other nuns, if the Abhaya murder case is proved, we shouldn’t put it behind us, but face the humiliation. But they don’t understand. In fact, I got a call from the US. An old American priest was telling me, ‘Sister, you are talking nonsense about Sr Abhaya. She had become pregnant, so she jumped into the well’. I was surprised that this story invented by the convent people had even reached as far as the United States.”
In the current case as well, rumors about the rape survivor nun have been doing rounds. However, Sr Jesme says, “Even if there was an illicit relationship, that doesn’t excuse the bishop’s actions. I have heard a statement in a Malayalam movie called Father’s Day. ‘A woman cannot bear it if even a strand of her hair is touched without her consent.’ That’s what men, especially ones like PC George, should understand. They should be reborn as a woman, only then would they understand the real feelings of a woman.”
H/T: The News Minute