The Indian ideal has been that the bride should be one-third the age of her husband. While this may not have been generally observed, the difference in age has resulted in early widowhood which, for higher castes in the Hindu world, has, at least from mediaeval times, meant social death. Small wonder that women are unable to contemplate remarriage when, instead of blaming their parents or society for the disparity in age which led to their widowhood, they passively attribute their state to punishment for misdeeds in a past life and resign themselves ungrudgingly. In Japan, widowhood averages 8.4 years, and unhappiness is reflected in the suicide rate among elderly women of 54.7 per 100,000, the second highest in the world. Divorce in southeast Asia usually allows the mother custody of her children, particularly if they are small; if older, they are permitted to choose with which parent they wish to live.