A tribal Khasi woman in Meghalaya has accused two Catholic priests of sexually abusing her since she was 5-years-old. As per reports, the woman, now 40, has shared her ordeal on a Facebook Post on how she was assaulted by one Br Francis Gale of the Christian Brothers and Br Muscat of Don Bosco group from the age of 5 until she was 12, leading her to attempt suicide thrice in her life.
“He would call children to his side of the table and ask us to choose toffees from his drawers and while we did, he would slide his hands up our thighs,” she said. The victim also mentioned that she could never tell anyone about the sexual abuse she faced by Muscat due to 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.
Referring to Gale, of the Christian Brothers congregation, she accused him of sexually abusing her for eight years. The woman has reportedly stated that 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,” she has added.
According to reports, the woman has added that she had tried to share her ordeal with a trusted family member but was slapped in return. She has added that her poor family background probably made her an easy target for the priests. She added that Francis Gale continued to harass her until she was 12-year-old. When she attained puberty, she finally mustered the courage to stop him because she was afraid she will get pregnant.
The accused Francis Gale is now reportedly posted in West Bengal while the other accused Br Muscat is based in Shillong.
The victim has also stated that she has spoken to her lawyers on the next steps to be taken, with the first one being #MeToo, that has finally provided her supportable platform to vent the frightening abuse that she faced. “All I want is to be heard and supported, while I do the same for others who have faced these issues”, she said.
Media reports have also mentioned that the Archdiocese was unavailable for a comment over the allegations. The Meghalaya woman’s allegations have come in the wake of Jalandhar’s Bishop Franco Mulakkal being accused of rape by a nun that was had gained widespread attention in the country. Bishop Franco was arrested more than two months after the allegations were made and has been recently granted bail.