Rape in the name of religion

The vulnerable misled

AFTER two convictions and with a third pastor still on trial for rape, social media discussions in Fiji have shifted from the gravity of the crime to moral analysis of the victims. Leaving no stones unturned, questions are peeling the layers off the word innocence and laying accountability at the feet of the victims. At the same time, however, they discuss the irony of pastors who carry out their supposedly holy work while preying on the community.

Modern-day wolves clothed as sheep, to borrow from Biblical descriptions. Out of fear, people are now questioning the influential strength of churches whose teachings sway women towards carrying out the extreme demands of the pastors. In a recent court appearance, a teenager, her mother and a third woman testified to having consensual sexual intercourse with 75-year-old Pastor Iowane Vakadranu in order to receive his healing powers.

Apparently Vakadranu convinced the women that as shepherd of the flock he had the right to have sex with members of his congregation. It was through the testimony of two other members of his church who spurned Vakadranu’s advances that he now serves a 14-year sentence in Korovou Prison. 

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