Nirbhaya

09.25.13

Ostracism for a Delhi Rapist's Widow

In rural India, few options for husbandless women.

When Akshay Kumar Singh was sentenced to death in the brutal New Delhi gang rape case, it sent a strong message from a country that still struggles mightily with violence toward women. But for Singh’s wife, Punita Devi, the verdict brought a sentence of her own: destitution, ostracism, and an uncertain future. As a woman without a husband, she is left without means of support in a traditional countryside where women cannot work outside the home. "I am not educated. Our traditions are such that I cannot even step out of the house," Devi told The Wall Street Journal. "Who will earn money to feed me and my son?"