Rose George – What is life like when your period means you are shunned by society?

What is life like when your period means you are shunned by society? by Rose George, WaterAid Blog, July 2014 |

Journalist Rose George reports on her visit to WaterAid Nepal, where she saw the impact of menstrual taboos on women and girls.

Excerpts – For Radha dinner is served at 7. She crouches down behind a shed, a good distance from her house, then waits.

She knows what the menu will be: boiled rice, the same as yesterday and the day before. She knows that it will be her little sister who serves it, throwing the rice onto her plate from a height, the way you would feed a dog.

Radha Bishwa Karma serving food behind the toilet. Credit: WaterAid/Poulomi Basu

Radha Bishwa Karma serving food behind the toilet.
Credit: WaterAid/Poulomi Basu

In Jamu, Radha’s village in western Nepal, her status is lower than a dog’s, because she is menstruating.

She is only 16, yet, for the length of her period, Radha can’t enter her house or eat anything but boiled rice. She can’t touch other women – not even her grandmother or sister – because her touch will pollute them. If she touches a man or a boy, he will start shivering and sicken.

If she eats butter or buffalo milk, the buffalo will sicken too and stop milking. If she enters a temple or worships at all, her gods will be furious and take their revenge, by sending snakes or some other calamity.

Here, menstruation is dirty, and a menstruating girl is a powerful, polluting thing. A thing to be feared and shunned.

 

About these ads

One response to “Rose George – What is life like when your period means you are shunned by society?

  1. Dear Rose. How are keeping? Thank you very much for such a moving account of women sufferings for all the wrong reasons. We have to work very hard on this issue of women abuse, especially we, as Man of the World. It is nice to see that you are continuing with campaign. I am now a lecturer of Water and Sanitation at the University of Limpopo and I am also an author of books. My first 3 books are titled 1. Environmental Health Practitioner Manual, 2. The African School and Sanitation Dialogue, and 3. POO, Everybody’s Doing It.
    I also feel that the only way to help our communities is to write about these challenges of sanitation all over the world. May God richly bless you and continue giving you courage to be outspoken on these taboo issues. Lets continue talking.

    Trevor Mulaudzi email is Trevor.Mulaudzi@ul.ac.za

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s