Taboos Surrounding Menstruation. What Do They Mean to Girls and Women Out There?
Science gives a basis for life on earth. Every biological process is substantiated by scientific theories. Cold, cough, fever, infections - people accept every bodily condition in relation to science except for one. It's the menstruation.
Instead of seeing menstruation as a biological change that a woman's body undergoes, several stories and myths are fabricated around it, calling the whole process as impure and sinful. A menstruating woman is treated as dirty and impure and unfortunately it's still rampant in the 21st century.
Effects of Considering Menstruation as a Taboo:
Menstruation is the End of Education:
In many tribal regions and backward communities, girls stop going to school once they start menstruating. For a reason that menstruating girls are treated with difference, they fear stepping out of their houses in the first place. Lack of sanitary gear, fear of stains and being mocked by other students are the biggest fears girls face even today. All this is solely because of not accepting periods as a bodily change.
Improper Menstrual Care Leads to Diseases:
As periods are marked dirty, talks about them are considered shameful. Consequently, girls refrain from disclosing problems related to their reproductive health. Hiding issues related to menstrual health further leads to serious health complications. One cannot even rule out the possibility of deaths caused due to unattended health conditions.
Menstruating Women Are Not a Part of Anything:
Menstruating women stay away from social and cultural activities in most of the communities. They are made to feel ashamed of themselves which leads to lowering of their self-esteem and dignity. They find it challenging to make social interactions which further effects their education and careers. Additionally, this kind of psychological hit leads to personality disorder in majority of girls.
Most of the communities believe that menstruating women contaminate water and other household things if they come in contact with them. This terrible belief stops women from using the communal wash areas (prevalent even today in many rural areas) to clean themselves up during periods. They are not allowed to wash or clean their genitals because they shouldn't be touching water! And the result is the rise of infections. Thanks to the believers of myths for putting women's health on stake.
A belief called Chhaupadi is prevalent even among the educated population of today. According to this, menstruating women are unclean and thus are not allowed to touch anyone and anything. They are made to sit in isolation. Several studies have shown how this practice has been leading to negative psychological effects on women.
Most of the Hindu communities make women and girls sit outside of their homes. There are many reports about the threats women had to suffer because of bad weather, limited clothes/blankets, limited or no resources, animal attacks etc. There are reports of sexual violence too. Who wouldn't take advantage of vulnerable people isolated and kept aside?
Backing up Actions Using Pseudo Science:
The worst part is people back their behavior towards menstruating women with false claims of giving them rest. Rest should be given the way a menstruating woman wants it. Rest should make her happy and comfortable, give her relaxation and warmth. It shouldn't punish her physically and psychologically. Unfortunately women are brainwashed to accept and believe that they are destined for this.
If it's not at an iron hand in your house, don't think it's not happening at all. It's time that we educate people about this as much as we can to protect little girls, teens and women from going through hell. Taboo surrounding menstruation is killing girls out there. Let's wake up and take a sip of commonsense.