03/07/2018 10:06 AM IST | Updated 03/07/2018 10:07 AM IST

Survivor Of Kerala's 'Sex-For-Silence' Saga Narrated Her Story To The Police


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Silhouette of a young woman at sunset. Image used for representational purposes only.

Days after Kerala's Crime Branch booked four priests of an orthodox church in Kerala for rape and molestation, the police revealed that the arrests were made based on the woman's statement where she recounted how the priests coerced her to have sex with them in return for silence.

A source in the Kerala Crime Branch revealed to The Newsminute that the woman alleged that one of the priests used a confession she had written to threaten her and have sex with her. She told the police that she got involved with Father Abraham Varghese in 1999 --- she was a minor and Varghese was studying to become a priest. Later, both Varghese and the woman married different people, but she insists, the priest demanded their relationship continue.

Ten years after they started to meet, in 2009, the woman confessed to another priest in the same church about what happened during her own child's christening. This man threatened to revealed details about her relationship to her family and coerced her to have sex with her. Later, to battle the trauma, the woman sought counselling at the Church. The counsellor too, she alleged, threatened her and compelled her to have sex with him. According to The Newsminute report, he even demanded to meet only at five star hotels, driving the woman to steal money from her own family.

According to an India Today report from a week back, a third priest was also involved, who establish sexual relations with her, clicked pictures and sent them to the counsellor who then used the pictures to blackmail her.

The sordid cycle of abuse came to light when an audio-clip, where a man is heard narrating how five priests got together to harass and abuse his wife, started doing the rounds of social media in Kerala. The man spoke to The Newsminute later and revealed that he questioned his wife about a bank statement which showed his wife has spent a fortune in a five star hotel in Kochi. His wife revealed how the priests had been harassing her and even wrote down a statement. The man told The Newsminute that he was ready to go to the police, but his family held him back and said he must complain to the church instead first. He complained to the church, but he told the website that the church took over three months and then suspended the priests only when the audio clip went viral.

After the clip went viral, the National Commission of Women directed the Kerala Police to lodge a complaint and begin and investigation into the matter.

According to an article on Firstpost, the survivor's husband had faced pressure from the her and her family to withdraw the complaint he lodged at the church. He even accused that his wife had filed a 'false' counter case against him with the church authorities alleging he had extracted the names of the priests 'under duress'. He added that the church authorities sent out several 'feelers' to him and his family indicating he should withdraw the complaint, but he had resolved not to.