Catholic nun trainee gang-raped by her cousins for a week in India

A woman training to be a nun was held captive and gang-raped for nearly a week by a group of vengeful men in Odisha, India.

The victim’s three captors allegedly lured her to a train station, abused her, then left her at the same station, threatening punishment if she dared to tell anybody about her ordeal.

Despite these threats, the victim filed charges against her attackers, The Times of India reports.
The 22-year-old woman was studying to be a nun at the St. Mary Convent in Chennai, around 700 miles away from her home in Odisha’s Kandhamal district. Police say she received a startling call from 31-year-old Nalini Sobhasundar, a female cousin.

 Sobhasundar allegedly passed along news that the victim’s mother was seriously ill. The victim boarded a train home and got off at the Brahmapur train station on July 5. There, she met the two male cousins—Jotindra Sobhasundar, 30, and Tukuna Sobhasundar, 28—who would soon become her tormentors.

At that point, the victim had no reason to suspect the cousins of any wrongdoing. She agreed to follow them to her village. But on the way, she was abducted, taken to an isolated area in a neighboring district, and raped. The attack lasted until July 11, when the group dropped her off at the Berhampur train station.

Authorities are still trying to establish a cause for the attack. Cops say the key link might be the victim’s brother. Two years ago, this brother was accused of murdering one of the suspect’s father.

The woman was taken to the Ganjam district in Odisha and was raped between July 5 and July 11.

"We are investigating the motive behind the fake call and involvement of others in the case," senior officer K. V. Singh told The Times of India.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, called the attack “physical and emotional terrorism.”

“This violation of our young woman religious is [an] evil act inflicted on this woman religious who has consecrated her life to God,” Gracias told Catholic World News. “Rape is an abhorrent crime and an abominable transgression against the honor of women and reflects [the] abysmal state of women in our society, community and nation.”

Activists continue to protest sexual violence against women after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old New Delhi student captured the nation’s attention last December. Although the Indian parliament passed laws increasing punishment for rapists in March, gruesome cases are still emerging.

On Sunday, a group of men kidnapped and raped four girls between the ages of 12 and 14. Eight suspects were arrested in Jharkand on Tuesday.

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