Bishop Franco Mulakkal, a native of Kerala has been accused of repeatedly raping a nun for nine times between 2014 and 2016. What makes the rape more shocking is the silence of the Catholic Church about the incident. Since then the victim has been regularly reaching to the authorities of the church to put forward her complain and also look for justice. However, she failed to find any support.
She later approached the Vatican’s diplomatic envoy in India where she narrated the entire incident about Mulakkal raping her during his visit to Kerala from his diocese that is located in the northern city of Jalandhar. Things were still complicated when all roads to justice seemed closed. However, it was due to the efforts of five other fellow nuns of the victim who staged a protest from 15 day outside the high court building of Kerala in Kochi, that the accused was finally arrested.
The accused Mulakkal still denied the charges brought against him. Following the arrest, if found guilty the clergy would be facing a minimum penalty of life imprisonment. This is the first sexual abuses incident in India involving a Bishop to go through a trial. The police have charged Mulakkal with unnatural intercourse, intimidation, and illegal confinement.
The charges are, however, the verdict of victory for the nuns especially the victim who had otherwise approached the authorities only for her transfer to a convent that was not under the authority of the Bishop. The typical stereotypes of young people not being allowed to raise their voices against the seniors are a major cause for such incidents to get less importance. No matter what the clergy’s do it is expected that the church will cover it up.