Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't Believe The Lies About The Raped Nepali Nun

On July 19th, the Nepal Buddhist Federation issued a press release concerning the horrifying case of a Buddhist nun from Nepal who was gang raped while traveling in India. The Press Release was in response to claims made in the Times of India that the rape victim was to be expelled from her nunnery because of the attack.

The Nepal Buddhist Federation statement makes it absolutely clear that the rape victim is still a nun and will be returned to her nunnery as soon as she is physically able to do so (she is hospitalized and still recovering from the attack).

The following are three direct quotes from the NBF statement (full text here):

1. "Nepal Buddhist Federation has never said that she is expelled from the nunnery."

2. "The members of the NBF personally met her and her relatives in the hospital where her condition is still very unstable. NBF also met the authorities of the Karma Samtenling Nunnery at Pharbing, which she left a year ago when she went to India to pursue further studies. She is not expelled from the nunnery."

3. "NBF in collaboration with our allied Association Tamang Lama Gedung Sangh and the concerned nunnery is taking steps to accommodate her back into the nunnery when she recovers and discharged from the hospital. NBF will do everything in its power to help restore the dignity of the nun and continue to fight for justice."

A number of Buddhist bloggers have seized upon this story with a great deal of hysterical self-righteous outrage, but without stopping to look into the facts. What is it about some Buddhists that they are so eager to believe the worst about the Dharma and the Sangha?

The original story in the Times of India (link) claims that "15 Buddhist organisations said that as a result [of being raped], she had lost 'her religion' and could be no longer regarded as fit to be a nun."

The article, does not provide any official statement from even a single Buddhist organization, let alone 15! There are quotes from one official of the NBF (the only "Buddhist Organization" actually named in the article), and if one looks at what he says, it is clear that he at no point says that the victim will be expelled from her nunnery. And in the official statement from the NBF it is made clear that the official quoted in the article was not speaking on behalf of the NBF (nor is it stated directly in the article that he was speaking in an official capacity: this was merely insinuated by the Times of India "journalist").

Although the Times of India "journalist" could not be bothered to substantiate his false allegations against Nepalese Buddhists with proper sourcing, he (surprise!) did mange to get a proper quote from a Catholic priest who was only too happy to comment on this non-story.

Anyone with a modicum of critical reading and thinking skills should have seen through this transparent smear campaign instantly. Instead, Buddhist themselves have moronically repeated these lies over and over again on blogs and online discussion forums.