no decent Christian man would marry a woman who was not a virgin, whatever the reason
The loss of virginity IS far worse than death, if it's a deliberate act. From St. Agnes of Rome to St. Maria Goretti our women always preferred the latter to the former. As to prejudices against raped women, it was indeed widespread, for instance in southern Italy, where they have suffered from several centuries of Islamic rule. Others had similar problems in former Hun or celtic areas. I would not confuse cultural conditionings due to historical contexts with the results of a wrong anthropology or even faith. That men used to prefer virgins to marry is something I find hard to object to - within reasonable limits - and hopefully the same standard will be applied to men once we manage to re-evangelize our culture.
However, the double standard derived - paradoxically - from a (wrong) social re-elaboration of a common (and not entirely baseless) prejudice against men
, not women. That's why the institution of marriage (indissoluble, and with adultery prosecuted as a crime with severe penalties) was seen also
as a guarantee
for women more than it was for men, because it obliged men to grow up and take things seriously, since - especially in sexual matters - they were traditionally considered unreliable, and I am afraid we've done little to change that perception.
The prejudices deriving from a professed doctrine are one thing, those surviving among Christians in spite
of their faith as taught by the Church
and spread by evangelization are quite another. And, there is always the original sin (and that applies to both muslims and Christians). I don't wish to start a discussion on Islam but it is without a doubt that the very anthropology of Islam puts women in a state of absolute inferiority (for instance, in a trial, 2 women are needed for a valid witness against a man, and their marriage legislation basically makes a woman equal to an object or an animal to be sold). When Christendom would see queens and empresses and female religious founders ruling Europe side by side with men, advising Popes and Cardinals, settling disputes, making laws and leading armies, muslims would react horrified at our "corruption".
As to religiously inspired garb, my humble opinion is that people should be free to clothe the way their tradition and culture suggest, on condition that their choice does not express a clear disregard for the dignity of the person and for natural law in general. Burkas (and similar excesses) fall under such category. They originate in a totally unacceptable idea of women, it makes them difficult to breathe and disturbs blood circulation, causing harm to their eyes and even recurring headaches, to say nothing of depression and the rate of suicide and addiction among Afghan-Iranian women. Other lighter "islamic" veils are not so offensive and truly motivated (at least in part) by a sincere desire for modesty and dignity. If worn voluntarily, they should not be forbidden.
That authorities have a duty and a right to require that all persons be recognizable for securiyt reasons should go without saying.
The contrary excesses of our own present culture are no justification to allow other
barbaric customs in our countries. We need to counter both forms of degrading habits, the way our forbears did: a combined action of evangelization, reform of customs and legislation. It's called temporal order
for a reason, and it's crucial to the salvation of souls (at least to provide each person the chance of seeking God with no other constraint than just laws and the lived culture of their fellow countrymen.
The end of the culture of family with the inevitable corollary of divorce, abortion and contraception legal and on demand have only made women weaker (in all senses: in non-Christian cultures like India and China, abortion kills mostly girls), and have now turned the image of women - at least from the point of view of role-models and the perception of many - precisely in what Islamists accuse them to be as a whole
: naturally perverted beings who love to show their body to corrupt men. The rate of rapes and sexual harassments growing in keeping with the pressure of the the politically correct nonsense about "free" sexuality only show this fact.
That's the "freedom" our modern world gave women: to appear naked on magazines and movies for the pleasure of men, to take pills and kill babies to free their coward partners of all responsibilities and to let them have a body available anytime. But I digress.