From Patricia McCormick’s Sold

(It tells the story of a girl from Nepal named Lakshmi, who is sold into sexual slavery in India.)

“Before today, Ama says, you could run as free as a leaf in the wind.

Now, she says, you must carry yourself with modesty, bow your head in the presence of men, and cover yourself with your shawl.

Never look a man in the eye.

Never allow yourself to be alone with a man who is not family.

And never look at growing pumpkins or cucumbers when you are bleeding. Otherwise they will rot.

Once you are married, she says, you must eat your meal only after your husband has had his fill. Then you may have what remains.

If he burps at the end of the meal, it is a sign that you have pleased him.

If he turns to you in the night, you must give yourself to him, in hopes that you will bear him a son.

If you have a son, feed him at your breast until he is four.

If you have a daughter, feed her at your breast for just a season, so that your blood will start again and you can try once more to bear a son.

If your husband asks you to wash his feet, you must do as he says, then put a bit of the water in your mouth.

I ask Ama why. “Why”, I say, “must women suffer so?”

“Simply to endure”, she says, “is to triumph.” “