Breaking The Cycle of Taboos
Menstruation has always been stigmatized as it has been clouded in misconceptions that have perpetuated over generations. Girl after girl has found their period to be abnormal, scary and impure, making them feel shameful, undeserving and dirty. Girls are still discreet about periods, ﬁghting a lonely battle, within themselves because there is no one to talk to.
Sunita was 11 when she had her first menstrual cycle. She was at home getting ready to go to school and got panicked when she found herself bleeding.
“My first reaction was too different,” recalled Sunita Das, a girl from Cuttack’s Khan Nagar community. “I thought I am suffering from some serious illness and I am going to die.” Sunita called out to her mother being panic.
”My mother asked me to sit in one room, which she prepared for me and asked me not to move from there, she said me I am matured now and I should stop playing with children in the neighborhood. My mother handed me a laundry list of “things not to do from now on”. Sunita said.
“I attained the training sessions on menstruation and received a clear understanding about menstruation and the associated bodily changes that occurs. I was not finding it comfortable initially to attend these sessions as I was asked it is shameful of discussing about periods with anyone. But the process of body mapping made me relaxed to continue the learning and I found it very interesting. I also learned about how pregnancy occurs and the menstrual hygiene practices and the social taboos associated with periods.” Sunita narrated.
“Every girl should be given knowledge about menstruation process by her mother before the onset of periods. The training sessions are very useful for every girl to overcome the difficult days. The knowledge I got from the training, I wish I should been given either by mother or in my school.” Sunita added.
Empowering girls with positive attitude towards menstruation, and equipping them with knowledge to manage their periods hygienically, improves their ability to experience healthy periods.