Sexual harassment of girl children by older women in a Christian shelter home has come to light after one of the inmates ran away from the home. Allegedly children lodged in many shelter homes are facing the same issue. A woman who ran away from one of the homes, Trichy Multipurpose Social Service Society (TMSSS) Swadhar Greh, filed a complaint that she was sexually abused by the older women in the home. Based on this the social welfare department officials have started an investigation.
Apparently it is the same story in many of the shelter homes for women and children across Trichy. Girls wandering in public places who either ran away from their homes or those who escaped bonded labour are enrolled in homes like TMSSS for the time being till the future course of action is decided. Such children are sexually harassed by the older women residing there and staff of the homes. Their basic necessities like sanitary napkins, clothes and healthy food are not fulfilled as per the complainant.
Following the complaint, women police and social welfare department officials have started an investigation and are inspecting the shelter homes in Trichy. TMSSS Swadhar Greh mentioned in the complaint is an organisation run by the Trichy diocese of Catholic church. TMSSS also runs a daycare centre, home for mentally retarded, children’s home, rehabilitation centre, etc.
TMSSS is an FCRA registered entity that receives funds from Catholic organisations like The Catholic Health Association of India in Delhi, Italian Bishops Conference in Italy and Hope and Joy Foundation in Spain. Swadhar Greh home receives financial aid from the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare department and the department of Women and Child Welfare at the centre.
In 2017, the home run by TMSSS failed to inform the police and child protection unit when 6 of its inmates escaped. TMSSS tried to hush up the matter by not informing anyone and even the district child protection officer denied acknowledgement of the same. When TOI called the home they denied that there was any such lack of security and all the boys were safe in their home. However later with the involvement of police the issue came to light. Now they are in the limelight again for sexual abuse charges.
Director of TMSSS Fr.John Selvaraj says, “Evangelizing without social work is deficient”. TMSSS, the diocesan social service body promotes gospel values”. Almost every diocese in India runs a multi-purpose social service society, most of which get government funds to preach gospel in their so-called social service. Thoothukudi Multi-purpose Social Service Society was accused of fueling anti-Kudankulam protests and its FCRA license was cancelled by the UPA government. Will funds from the governments be stopped at least now and the homes run by TMSSS be shut down for good?
TMSSS’ FCRA registration ID- TN/76040030
(With inputs from @by2kaafi)
(Featured Image Source: Puthiathalaimurai)
Did you like this article? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.