Ending culture of shame and silence around menstruation

Ending culture of shame and silence around menstruation

Despite the growing dialogue in India about menstruation, talking about it still makes people uncomfortable as an overpowering silence still exists around this natural process, cloaked in shame and a lack of awareness. Moreover, myths, superstitious practices and cultural taboos associated with periods persist at the cost of a menstruator's health and safety.

Understanding that the culture of shame and silence around menstruation must be done away with, a Delhi based organisation 'Sachhi Saheli' initiated the celebration of a day, known as 'Menstrual Health and Awareness Day' (MHAD) in 2019. Since then, the day is marked and celebrated to initiate positive and constructive conversations around menstruation in India to ensure that menstruators have access to the knowledge, infrastructure and other resources that they need to manage their menstrual health and hygiene effectively.

This year, 'Menstrual Health and Awareness Day' was celebrated with great gusto and enthusiasm across several cities and states in India. The 'Red Spot Campaign' for 'MHAD' on social media saw participation from hundreds of individuals, organisations, activists, etc. As a part of the campaign, the participants initiated positive conversations in their households and posted pictures with a red spot at the back of their hands to show solidarity with the cause and assert that there is no space for shame and stigma when it comes to menstruation.

Apart from this, students from various colleges took to social media to participate in the 'Red Spot Campaign' and expressed that conversations around menstruation must be normalised.

Additionally, 'Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights' (DCPCR), in collaboration with 'Sachhi Saheli', also celebrated the day along with students of Delhi Government schools as they organised a card-making activity for them. As a part of this activity, students participated and made delightful cards for the menstruators in their families.

Similar activities were also undertaken by organisations such as 'Vatsalya', 'Tata Trusts', 'Sharp NGO' and many more.

The theme of this year's event was 'Ab Pata Chalne Do', which signifies that menstruation should no longer be a secret to be kept and all menstruators must have all the knowledge that they need to efficiently manage their periods.

Bearing the theme in mind, 'Sachhi Saheli' along with 'Ladli Foundation' and 'Asmita Theater Group' organised 'Nukkad Natak' (Street play) in several slum clusters in Delhi. The very talented team of 'Asmita Theater Group' performed their powerful play 'Wo Din' that characterised how superstitious practices around menstruation adversely affects a woman's life.

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