During that time of the month, we often wear darker clothes for the fear of getting stains on our clothes. Even so, there are times that due to the improper placing of the pad, or simply due to an overflow, it leaks on to our clothes, leaving a noticeable stain. What is even more inevitable is if we get our period when we are not prepared for it - no pads available and no medical stores in sight.
Most of us (if not all) ladies have experienced staining our clothes while in our periods at least once while we were adolescents. Although we are more used to handling our periods now than we were when we were younger, staining our clothes don’t feel any less embarrassing. This 12-year-old girl from Tamil Nadu had stained her clothes too, but what happened after this was rather enraging.
This incident took place in August 2017. Her classmates had told her that there was a blood stain on her clothes. She did what most of us would have done - she asked for help. Instead of helping the girl, the female teacher whom she approached proceeded to shame her in front of her entire class.
“The teacher did not even take into account that there were boys in the class. She asked my daughter to lift the top of her salwar up and then gave her a duster cloth to use as a pad.”, News Minute quoted her mother as saying. Her daughter was then asked to stand outside the class.
This incident led to the child committing suicide - by jumping from a 25-foot building - just a day later. In her suicide note, she only mentioned that her teacher had tortured her but did not mention the period incident. In the past, the teacher had also beaten the girl for not doing her homework. Her parents were informed about the actual incident by her classmates. Infuriated, the parents immediately demanded action against the teacher.
Not so long ago, a warden at a school in UP demanded a strip search of 70 girl students after she saw a few drops of blood on the bathroom floor. She threatened to beat the girls if they didn’t obey the order. Enraged parents protested about this leading to the warden’s suspension.
All these problems arise from a deep-rooted problem that exists in our society. A vast majority fails to understand what menstruation is all about. We need to change the way we think in order to see progress. A sound education system is one way to solve these issues, but first, we need to ensure that the ones in the education system know how to handle these small situations.
Instead of shaming the students, sanitary pad dispensers should be made available in all schools, hostels and public spaces so that it becomes easier for the women to maintain menstrual hygiene. Enough incinerators should be in place as well, for the safe disposal of the used napkins. The students can be taught how to operate the machines. At public places, trained workers should help guide the women on how to use the machines.
Awareness campaigns about menstruation and menstrual health should be conducted so that people understand what menstruation is all about. If it weren’t for menstruation, you wouldn’t be here reading this article. It is a process that gives life - not something that should bring shame to little girls.
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