This is the reality of many women and girls who live in super-duper religious communities (and by “religious” I really mean “backward” – the two don’t necessarily have to go hand-in-hand, but spirituality is so complex that most people just take the easy way out, turning into drooling, intellectually stagnant fanatics).
Like Aliana, I am incredibly saddened to read about incidents of young women being threatened for daring to acquire knowledge. An educated woman is dangerous in certain circles. She may make the fragile egos of the men around her wilt faster than their, ah, appendages.
If you think that Muslims are bad – check out some of the comments my relatives got, having divulged to fellow Orthodox church-goers the fact that yours truly had attended college in the U.S.:
“How will Natalia find a husband now?” (Of course, the assumption is that I’m just DYING to get married – after all, I’m an old maid! “Normal” women get married at 18!)
“A good Orthodox man is not going to like that sort of thing.” (I’ve already got a good agnostic man, but thanks…)
“It’s especially bad if she was in the humanities – they teach nothing but filth.” (“And now my cousin, who’s also my beloved wife, will accompany me to our weekly book-burning!”)
“If she was living on her own, she’s pretty much a lost cause. Young women need constant supervision.” (I’m not even going to dignify this one with a snide comment)
“I don’t want to scare you, sister, but I hear they have the falling-down sin in abundance in college!” (For the uninitiated, the falling-down sin (повальный грех) = orgy!)
I honestly wish I was making this stuff up.
*- This basically means that Anna goes commando every day. Go Anna!