Global War Against Women: Village moral codes in India

Young women escape from Indian villages — and their stringent, not to say primitive, moral codes — and head to the cities. Normal, right? It’s what so many of us do.

But village moral codes have a long arm.  Here’s the start of the story in today’s New York Times, written by Ellen Barry:

ROHTAK, India — Meena, 20, was a village girl herself, so she can recognize the changes that come when girls from the village arrive in this city as students and take their first gulps of freedom.

Blue jeans, forbidden at home, are crammed into a corner of the backpack for a midday costume change. A cellphone is acquired and kept on silent.

She always tells them: You never know who might be watching. If word gets back to the village that a young woman has stepped across the village’s moral boundaries — it could be something as simple as being spotted chatting with a group of male students after class — her life could be upended in a day.

“I tell them, we have to be careful,” Meena said. “Maybe they are not aware that someone can watch them and go and report back.

Gives me the shivers.

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