In addition to ending the life of their 23-year-old victim, the men who gang-raped a student on a bus in New Delhi are ruining their wives’ lives, The Wall Street Journal reports. Punita Devi, the arranged wife of one bus-rape convict, is from a village that practices purdah, keeping women veiled and isolated inside the home. Without a husband, she is wholly dependent on the kindness of relatives, none of whom are keen (or rich enough) to help her. Her brothers-in-law left their jobs after her husband became a pariah. They struggle to support their own wives and children, much less Devi and her 2-year-old son.
Even if a male relative were available to chaperone Devi outside the home, illiteracy would likely impede her ability to work. Her family of birth is too poor to take her back, so she “subsists on handouts” from her in-laws. If you aren’t abysmally depressed yet, here’s a quote from Devi’s mother-in-law: “In our family, women die at home. They never venture outside.”