Rape, Drugging, Incest and Child Molestation in a Christian Community

Rape, Incest in Christian Community
Mennonite Girl (Photo by Ben Crowder)

A recent report on VICE revealed new information about women living in a Bolivian Manitoba Colony who believed that they were being raped by demons for four years till investigations were finally carried out and the responsible culprits were arrested in 2009. Since 2005, over 130 women and children of the orthodox Mennonite community had no explanation for why they woke up with dirty fingerprints all over their aching bodies or had semen and blood stains on their bed sheets. On her stay at the colony, Jean Friedman-Rudovsky discovered that the sexual attacks continue within the closed community even today.

Nine men were convicted for the crimes in 2009. The trial of these men aged 19 to 43 found that they were using strong sedatives to drug families after breaking into their homes at night and before carrying out the rapes. The rapists raped women who lay next to their husbands after both spouses were knocked unconscious. In a few families the male members were raped as well. The victims ranged from 3 year old children to 65 year old elderly women (the youngest victim suffered from a broken hymen, supposedly from finger penetration).

The church leaders often remind the victims that they are required to forgive the perpetrators if they wish to be forgiven for their own sins by God and they are pressured to do so if they refuse.

With a total population of about 3000 Mennonites, law and order is maintained in the colony through a de facto government of nine ministers and a bishop. These members are elected for life and have the power to run the colony like it is a sovereign nation since the Bolivian government rarely interferes with the life of Mennonite colonies.

The ministers and the ruling bishop have created a power disparity by declaring themselves as the only interpreters of the Bible in order to retain power and instill obedience in the colony. The ministers have denied such claims and have said that they encourage everyone to know everything about the holy book. However, residents have admitted that they are discouraged from studying the Bible. Their bibles are also written in High German and the inadequately educated locals have to depend on the interpretations of the ministers since most of the residents have limited training on the language.

 

Associated Press report from 2009:

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