Crime-Justice

Khasi woman accuses two Catholics priests of sexually abusing her

October 20, 2018 11:31 AM

Punjab News Express
SHILLONG: A tribal Khasi woman in Meghalaya on Friday took to social media #MeToo campaign accusing two Catholic brothers of sexually abusing her since she was five years old.

Mary Therese Kurkalang, who said she attempted suicide thrice in the past, in her Facebook post named two Catholic brothers "Br Francis Gale of the Christian Brothers and Br Muscat of Don Bosco" for sexually abusing her since she was 5.

Kurkalang told IANS over phone that she had consulted her lawyers to understand the repercussion before she put her statement on Facebook against the two Catholic brothers.

"I don't know yet my next steps... I have taken the first steps for now and these were not easy," she said.

Detailing her ordeal in her Facebook post, Kurkalang 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 3 times as a teenager and young adult, twice I landed in hospital in a serious condition."

Alleging that Gale of the Christian Brothers congregation had "sexually abused her for eight years", the 40-year-old woman said, "He (Gale) was a trusted friend of my family and was held in great esteem as a religious man. I was sent to him for tuitions -- I was 5 when he first showed me his XXXX and asked me to touch it."

Kurkalang said that she never got the support of her family members, one of whom 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, Kurkalang said Muscat of Don Bosco abused his victims by giving them sweets and toffees 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," she said.

Kurkalang 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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