Because it’s tradition, it makes it sacrosanct … that’s how many are raised

I saw this at TYWKIWDBI, and thought it should be reposted:

A bleak future for the wife of a rapist

KARMALAHANG, India—When the call came from New Delhi, Punita Devi braced herself for the worst. Her husband, she learned, had been sentenced to death by hanging.

Akshay Kumar Singh and three other men were convicted this month of a crime that focused the world’s attention on violence against women in India: the gang rape and killing of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a bus in December.

For the parents of the woman who died, the sentencing brought a measure of closure. For Ms. Devi, who is in her 20s, and her 2-year-old son, her husband’s crime and punishment have opened up a chapter of profound uncertainty.

Ms. Devi expects to be cast out by her in-laws and face ostracism and destitution here in India’s conservative hinterland—not because she is married to a convicted murderer, but because she is a woman without a husband. “As a widow, my honor will be lost forever,” she says.

Her husband’s relatives say they can’t afford to feed her. Her parents say they are too poor to take her back. The customs of purdah practiced in the region make it almost impossible for her to work outside the home.

“I am not educated. Our traditions are such that I cannot even step out of the house,” Ms. Devi said. “Who will earn money to feed me and my son?”

Read on

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