All over the world people came out to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day this time PYWV focusing on the girls in our community who are mostly forgotten, the refugee girls. Coming together to speak on menstruation and creating awareness on this ensures that we are having conversations that are meaningful and eliminating period shaming.
The myths and misconceptions in different countries and cultures continue to shock us which leads to shaming of the most natural process for a girl and woman. So what is Menstruation? Every month, the womb prepares for a possible pregnancy when it sheds the lining of the womb, resulting in period or menses. This usually happens once a month and a woman bleeds on an average for five days. The normal cycle varies from 21 to 35 days and the bleeding can last from two to seven days. Having a regular period indicates that a woman is ovulating every month. It is like a monthly reminder that women are capable of having a baby. (m)
Still we have communities where a woman on her period cannot cook, enter places of worship and for this particular day, the young women told us you are also not allowed to hold a new born baby since they could die or get a bout of bad disease of the skin. They said the remedy is tying a black string of yarn around the wrist or the stomach because some women are so bad and want what is bad for you that’s why you need to protect the baby. But if it was the mother on her period than it is okay, yet it is the same natural process. Is the period so powerfully dark that it could lead to death or a plague? What is the magic behind a string of yarn that could lead you to trust it more than your fellow woman who just came to celebrate the birth of your child with you?
We cannot have enough of this talks in our houses, in our communities, in our family gatherings, during outings until we end the period stigma, until we understand how beautiful though somewhat painful and uncomfortable process this is. If we talk about it enough, we will have the support of the male figures in our lives, we will have girls not ashamed of it, we will break the chains that menstruation makes our girls and young women put on themselves and we will have women and girls proud of who they are and living to their fullest potential. We need to put more emphasis on hygiene, is the school a comfortable place for a girl on her period? Does she have a place to dispose her sanitary napkin, tissue paper and water if she needs to? The places of business in the community, are our women reps ensuring the women can comfortably change their sanitary napkins in clean toilets and dispose of comfortably? The workplace, the places of worship and every place a woman would need to be at all times. Let’s create spaces that are safe for a girl and woman to comfortably go through this important process of life and provide her sanitary napkins for free or at most subsidized rate.