Period shaming in Nepal and its toll on mental health
October 10th, 2019
A tradition that kills women and children is still observed, even though it has been officially banned in Nepal. Chhaupadi is a banishment that sends girls and women to live in makeshift huts while they’re menstruating or right after giving birth. The name means “untouchable being”.
They are not allowed to enter their homes or do any regular activities, as their blood is considered impure.
Disobeying Chhaupadi spells doom for whole villages. According to Hindu beliefs, crops can die, people might get sick and water can get contaminated. The truth though is that the women are the ones who suffer and get sick because of precarious living conditions.
No matter the weather, women have to be confined. There are several stories of girls who suffocated in scorching temperatures or died by inhaling smoke - from fires they started to keep warm during winter.
Although the practice is dangerous for their overall health, causing all sorts of problems like reproductive tract infections, pneumonia and diarrhoea, its psychological effects are the most devastating ones. Isolation and humiliation result in depression, not to mention reports of sexual abuse and assaults.
Good Neighbors Nepal educates communities on hygiene and menstrual cycles and empowers women and girls to learn about their rights. Many go on to become change agents, taking care of their health and assisting others in understanding periods are natural. Click here to know more.