A 14-years old Jackline Chepngeno, committed suicide on Friday, September 6, 2019. She did so because, however innocent she was, her teacher embarrassed and humiliated her in front of her classmates, something that triggered shame in her, and thus she decided to hang herself using a leso, reported the Daily Nation.
However much some people felt the situation could have been sorted out, for someone like her, it must have been unbearable to walk around as if nothing had happened.
The class student of Kapiangek primary school in Konoin sub-county, Bomet County, caught her periods as a surprise. While it is a normal thing for girls or women to help in such a situation, when she got soiled, her female teacher took the chance to kicking her out of class claiming she was dirty.
It is not only in Kenya where period shaming occurs. Whether it comes from men or women, it is undeniable that it occurs every day in every corner of the universe. In the web series ‘best friends in the world’ episode 13, Grace and Adams tell Olive that she is stained. While that is taken in well, other members of the girls (girls included) are so shocked that Olive could forget she was in her periods. Even the teacher, Mr. Ben, asks Esther to take Olive to the clinic while all she needed was a sanitary towel. You can laugh at how less knowledgeable people are concerning menstruation.
Are women their own worst enemy?
It shocks to realize that, even women who receive their periods monthly shame fellow women. But what exactly is the issue? I think, there is a level of discomfort that comes with an adolescent bleeding especially in a public space. And it is never the fault of that girl because some of them do not even afford sanitary towels. When one is harassed because of a situation she does not have control over, it becomes mental torture.
In an article on boozfeed.com dated June 22, 2017, “This is what period-shaming looks like around the world,” the writer reports that, “the topic of periods is hush-hush.” That many people refrain from talking about it. The article went ahead to narrate how pads were wrapped in newspapers after being purchased, how mothers told their daughters not to show off the evidence of period while other women would be required to wash their pads before disposal. Furthermore, one girl was told to do all the house chores even with the pain that comes with periods.
And while I would recommend that primary schools incorporate proper reproduction and human health education, there should also be the initiative of individuals to talk about periods like it is not a taboo anymore. It is ironical to find a grown woman with less knowledge about periods.
The act should stop. Because if you know what periods are, the mood swings, the pain-then it is foolish of you to make fun, embarrass and humiliate a girl on her monthly periods.