Regional

Khasi woman names two Catholic Church priests in #MeToo campaign

Correspondent Shillong, Oct 19 | Publish Date: 10/19/2018 12:01:29 PM IST

A tribal Khasi woman in Meghalaya on Friday took to social media (#metoo campaign) accusing two Catholic priests for sexually abusing her since she was a five year old.

The 40 year old woman, who attempted suicide thrice in the past, in her Facebook post named two priests — Br Francis Gale of the Christian Brothers and Br Muscat of Don Bosco.

She told this Correspondent over the phone that she had consulted her lawyers to understand the repercussions before she put her statement up on Facebook against the two priests.

“I don’t know yet my next step, I have taken the first step for now and they were not easy to take,” She said. Detailing her ordeal in her Facebook post, the woman said, “It’s a long journey and an ongoing one to stay whole, balanced, and sane as someone who was sexually abused through my childhood, age 5 till age 12. I have attempted suicide three times as a teenager and young adult, twice I landed in hospital in a serious condition.” She said that she never got the support of her trusted family member, but instead slapped her when she informed them about the sexual abuse committed by Gale.

“I never spoke about it again, the abuse continued all the years till, when I turned 12 and started menstruating I mustered the courage to refuse to meet this man (Gale) or talk to him,” she said.

In her Facebook post, the woman accused Muscat of Salesians of Don Bosco of abusing his victims under the pretext of giving them sweets and toffee kept in a huge desk.

“He would call children to his side of the table and ask us (children) to choose toffees from his drawers and while we did, he would slide his hands up our thighs,” She said. The woman also said that she never told anyone about the sexual abuse committed by Muscat because of the larger abuse she faced from Gale. “The #metoo movement has triggered a lot of distress, but it also brings me hope and belief that justice will come, that we, each of us who have suffered silently will finally be heard, we might not be believed by everybody but we will be believed by many, and that matters,” she said.

“Some might ask why now? Why did I wait? I did not wait, I did act then, in the ways I knew how and the little agency I had as a child. But everywhere and every one I reached out to then, did not help. I lost hope in the very idea of justice. All I knew after my failed attempts of suicide was that I had to survive and win, to live a life that I choose as an adult, or I would have let my abusers destroy my present and my future too,” She said.

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