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A Woman in Grief and Fear

Period Shame

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Why Explore this as a topic? Many may ask this question but why not?

On September 6, 2019, a beautiful young 14-year-old committed suicide in Kenya because of period shame, according to sources, the teacher called her dirty because of a natural mess she could not have otherwise avoided.

Since 2017 there have been reports all over the news channels year in year out about how young girls are turning into prostitution or exchanging sex for some money to buy sanitary towels. These actions that some people take for granted are stripping our girls off their basic human rights and dignity, no one in their right mind would ever want to imagine anything like that to befall their loved ones. You don’t want to imagine the amount of misfortune that may befall these beautiful souls by exposing themselves not only to rape and harm but also sexually transmitted diseases simply because they lacked resources to get sanitary towels in their time of need.

This is a conversation we can no longer keep avoiding simply because it does not individually affect us or our own. As a woman, growing up in a country where girls opt to miss school because of menstruation or sometimes even drop out because of period shame and now young girls turning to suicide, it saddens me to imagine all the potential we are losing because of a naturally occurring process, the very process that has allowed humanity to exist.

Even before Covid-19 struck mother earth, the period crisis was a problem in many communities, I remember a time when I was on the field conducting an emergency flood relief response in the year 2018 where a young girl called me aside and asked me “… did you guys remember to carry pads for the women and girls?”. Honestly, as a woman, I froze first before I even answered because I felt the amount of concern and genuine need in her voice. At that time all I would do was to purchase some and share with some of the girls there.

Being an attaché at that time in a male-led organisation I would not have brought it up for fear of retaliation but I suggested sanitary towel distribution to the poor and marginalized communities as a project during the review meeting which was taken up for action.

What makes you different from others when you read this article? You now know and have the power to help the world move in a different direction. The direction that will help create awareness about the crisis that most people will not talk about. Use your voice, use your power, use your ability, use your position to bring about change and end period shame. Your positive reaction and input matter.

With vaccines out, cases of Covid – 19 continue to rise all over the world, let’s all remember to stay safe, maintain physical distancing, avoid crowded places as much as possible, wash your hands for 20 seconds or sanitize often especially before and after coming into contact with surfaces and others, always wear your mask in public and follow guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and WHO.

Credits/Source: Marlene K. Kinyua.

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