NPR reports that the #MeToo movement has swept up nuns, who are starting to speak out about sexual harassment and sexual assault by priests within the Catholic Church. According to NPR, it is especially difficult for nuns to speak out about abuse by priests because they have been educated that the woman is always responsible for the occurrence of sex. The #NunToo movement has emerged even though, as NPR explains:
These nuns believe they’re the guilty ones for having seduced that holy man into committing sin, because that’s what they’ve always been taught.
Nuns who were sexually assaulted by priests and became pregnant were often ostracized from their orders and forced to raise the child on their own, or they were pushed by the priest to get an abortion (paid for by the priest, as nuns often had no money), NPR reports.
An advocate for the nuns says that in the Catholic church, they “are unobserved, invisible, ignored and not respected,” reports NPR. Last year, International Union Superiors General — an organization that represents nuns — urged sisters to defy a “culture of silence and secrecy” and speak out against their abusers, reports NPR.
This culture of secrecy may have masked another persistent problem in the Catholic church (in addition to abuse of children).
The Vatican is currently investigating allegations in Chile that sisters were kicked out of their nunnery after reporting sexual abuse by priests, says NPR.