Myths about menstruation are a part of the larger patriarchal structure of control over girls and women. While restrictions on girls during menstruation cut across class and culture around the world, the custom of untouchability practiced against menstruating girls and women is unique to India. Girls and women between the ages of 10-50 years, face untouchability from their own family members during menstruation.
In this book, we have documented girls’ stories of menstruation in their own voices.
“ This is my cousin sister’s story, of when she got her periods…That day, she had felt a strong pain in her stomach, and when she started bleeding, she didn’t know what it was. She got very scared and told her teacher about it. Her teacher asked her to go home and sent a friend along with her to reach her home.
Once she got home, a difficult time began for her. Instead of placating her fear or showing her any love or even explaining to her about what had happened, her mother kept my sister alone in one room. She had to stay there, alone, for the next six days. On the following day, a pooja was arranged for her and she was given sarees by all the married women in the family. It is true that she was given a lot of good food and other things during those days…but anyone passing by her room would taunt her and harass her…she felt terrible during those days, that is what she told me…”
Source: ‘Puberty, Poverty and Gender- Girls speak about menstruation’ (2014)., A Vacha Publication