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Catholic Nun Trainee Reportedly Gang-Raped In India

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A young woman studying to be a nun was reportedly raped earlier this month and held captive over the course of a week by three men in the Orissa region of India, according to the Press Trust of India.

Police told the news outlet that the victim was lured to a train station by her captors -- two of whom are reportedly her cousins -- by way of a phone call claiming that her mother was ill. Per the Press Trust, she was taken from the train station, attacked at another location and then returned to the station days later with instructions not to tell anyone what happened.

A third suspect has been arrested in conjunction with the case, the Press Trust notes in a separate report. Police believe the attack may have been an act of revenge because the victim's brother was previously thought to have been involved with the death of one suspect's father.

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has already spoken out against the attack, calling the assault "physical and emotional terrorism" on a woman who had devoted her life to God, according to 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,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias said.

Attention to sexual violence against women in India, and calls to prevent such assaults, have increased ever since the outrage over the brutal gang-rape last winter of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi. The woman died from injuries she sustained during the attack. In March, parliament passed legislation for stricter penalties in sexual assault cases.

Still, disturbing cases continue to emerge, including that of another attack on a group of school girls reported just this week. Eight suspects are being questioned in the rape of four girls between the ages of 12 and 14 who were taken from a convent boarding house in a town in eastern India. Medical tests confirmed that the girls were sexually assaulted.

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