10 Julio 2017 17:11
Girls are segregated from family and made to sleep alone during their periodA teenage girl in Nepal has died as the result of a snake bite after being banished to a shed because she was on her period. A ‘menstruation ritual’ called chhaupadi- commonly found in the western part of the country - sees young girls excluded from their families for the duration of their menstrual flow because it is seen as ‘unclean’. The victim, Tulasi Shahi, 19, from the Dailekh district, was bitten by a poisonous snake as she lay on the floor of her uncle’s cowshed, completely alone. Her family are believed to have first tried to treat the bites using home remedies, before taking the teenager to a nearby health centre, which didn’t stock snake venom. According to CNN, monsoon rains made the journey to the nearest hospital treacherous and Shahi died hours later. Seen as a needless death to many, this tragedy has reignited anger and debate in Nepal over the controversial ritual. Chhaupadi was outlawed by Nepal’s Supreme Court back in 2005, but activists argue that it has made little difference and many areas still practice it. In May, another girl’s life was claimed simply because of her menstruation cycle. 14-year-old Lalsara Bika passed away from a cold-related illness contracted while segregated. There’s no denying that being on your period absolutely sucks. In fact, it can be a bloody nightmare. But there is no shame in the fact that women menstruate, and nobody should be ostracised because of it. Although it’s important to respect cultural conventions other than that of the West, this ritual is also rebuffed by scores of people in Nepal, as well. Instilling shame about womanhood is seen everywhere, from Nepal to Timbuctoo. And this serves as another blow to women’s equal rights. According to tradition, chhaupadi dictates that young girls should be banished to 'menstruation huts' and forbidden to touch and communicate with other living beings during bleeding days. United Nations claims that women and girls are sometimes banned from reading, writing and touching books during this time. Hindu religion does play its part, but this treatment of female physicality just speaks to a wider, universal unease about menstruation. Sometimes just mentioning the crimson curse is enough to make people squirm in their seats.
Why does it make the world so uncomfortable?