Tammy: One thing: I think some of you are confusing rape with sex (one person did mention it’s about power and control). If it were truly about sex, people wouldn’t rape tiny children and old people. It’s about power, violence, humiliation, and rage. No power can protect people from that, or Jon would have employed it to shelter his entire realm by now.
Kel’s mom urged her to get the charm because she was facing facts: Kel was living in an unsafe, unsheltered world where Sex Happens, and Kel might choose to have it. Better to ensure that she has her choices afterward.
Most nobles and upper class merchants guard their daughters to ensure bloodlines in their marriages, but Kel has already turned her back on that world. Alanna announced she was so not interested, in case anyone believed she might be, by having multiple partners. (And people being what they are, they assumed the worst of a girl who lived among boys, as many assumed of Kel. Talk to a large number of people about female cops and women in the military, and you’ll run into more than a few who believe they’re promiscuous.)
There are ways for these people to deal with it if a girl is pregnant and doesn’t want to be. From magical solutions to herbal ones to adoption.
I also think everyone’s forgetting that there is a very strong Goddess religion here, with its own courts, and its own soldiery. Women who choose to go to the servants of the Goddess have help, and this society has a lot more protections for its women simply because Goddess worship is so strong in the Eastern Lands. They can’t interfere if a woman tells them her choice is to go with what society wants for her, but if a woman goes to her temple, unless that temple is corrupt, its servants will help her. She does have rights. Alanna didn’t know it, but she could have fought Lord Alan’s choice for her in the Goddess’s court. Of course, she couldn’t have become a knight that way.
And you really don’t want to defy the Goddess. You really don’t.