I watched your video story “In Nepal, Exiled Each Month” reported by Allyn Gastel, on the practice of isolating Nepali women during their monthly periods. Right at the outset, the narrator states the practice of sending menstruating women to the “goth” has “roots in Hinduism.”
The Times gets full marks for consistency, since it never fails to associate any number of social evils with Hinduism. Actually, far from being exclusive to conservative Hindus, the monthly exclusion of women is practiced in patriarchal cultures of all faiths. The purity rules applying to menstruating women prescribed by Orthodox Judaism are just as severe. Some transgressions even carry the penalty of death.
You also fail to mention that the Supreme Court of Nepal outlawed the practice in 2005, calling it “evil.”
That this practice is primitive is beyond doubt. But the crime of rape is a separate issue altogether. Rape is context-neutral. It can happen just about anywhere a predator finds a victim and the expectation of impunity. Why connect the practice of sending women to the “goth” with rape, unless your reporter is content with prejudicing its readers against a culture, rather than offering a balanced analysis of all the factors that make these women vulnerable?
The story ends on a pathetic, defeatist note with the central character stating that she would treat her daughter exactly as she was treated. Based on my knowledge of Nepali women activists, this by no means reflects the only reality for Nepali women. But God forbid we should find stories about strong Hindu women being beacons of enlightened change in your morally righteous news coverage.
This kind of selective bias annoys me not because it exposes uncomfortable truths -- but because it kindles nothing more constructive than idle voyeurism. The woman in your video story was doubly exploited: first, by her circumstances, and second, by the reporter who reduced her to fodder for condescending social chit-chat.
That young woman deserves better, as do your viewers.