break silence and let's tolk about it

esther atosha
Posted May 28, 2019 from Democratic Republic of the Congo

after going through the published stories about menstruation, I realize that  my strory about my first menstruation does not differ from those of my worldpulse sisters. what i can add is menstruation is part of a girl's life cycle: it's a "normal" and natural process. The body of the girl undergoes changes at the age of puberty and is usually accompanied by menstruation.

unfortunately, in the whole world and in Africa more particularly this subject is a taboo following numerous cultural beliefs. In some cultures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, periods must remain secret for the girl. menstruation is often equated with a very strong pejorative symbol.

in the bushi culture in the congo, periods are perceived as something "dirty". The young woman in period of menstruation is forbidden to cook under penalty of rendering her food unfit for consumption. the girl is forbidden to integrate any community under the pretext that during this period the girl carries in her the maleduction.the society must be then protected by isolate the girl in period. girls in periods face mockery, unpleasant or shameful remarks, which often accentuate the feeling of contempt and pain they feel strongly.

 many girls give up school during mentruation period because of the pain encountered but also because they feel isolated, misunderstood and shameful in this situation.

These girls feel compelled to not go to school, miss several classes and find themselves in a situation of dropping out of school. And in parallel, those who still go to school, find themselves in a sense of embarrassment and sit at the back of the class. They are discreet for fear of emitting a smell or leak on their clothes.

note that the topic of menstuation remains something very important. Especially since we are fighting more and more for the empowerment of girls and women around the world, and more particularly in Africa. One of the reasons for this fight is a better access to women's health.

I salute the initiative of the many non-governmental organizations, the SAFECO association especially for the awareness campaign for the purpose of  building self-confidence in the girlgs , the sharing of information on menstruation and the distrubution of kits.

Dear all, you must understand that menstruations are not taboo, they are rather a subject of rejoicing because it is a sign that the body of the girl works perfectly.

women must break the silence and prepare the girls by clearly speaking to them about menstruation.

This story was submitted in response to Menstruation Matters.

Comments 18

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Lisbeth
May 28
May 28

Dear Esther, happy menstrual hygiene day to you. This is a lovely story, and I relate to the cooking. Immediately, you mentioned "period", its like please go and sleep we will not need your service. Oh yeah, thank you then haha.
Thanks for sharing!

esther atosha
May 31
May 31

Hello lisbeth
it's really sad. we are not destined to remain like that. we absolutely have to do something for ourselves and the future generation's favor.

Z.Elias
May 28
May 28

Hello Esther,
Unfortunately the mensuration period is a subject that is considered as taboo more than a natural process that women live with.
But fortunately, some organizations are taking serious mesures about spreading awareness about it, and hopefully to make a school programs to educate young ladies without any bad thoughts.
Thank you for sharing your story.

esther atosha
May 31
May 31

hello z.elias
thank you, thank you for your contribution too.

Jill Langhus
May 28
May 28

Hello Esther,

How are you doing, dear? Thanks for sharing your story. It's sad that this subject is still so taboo in your country, but I think it will change in the near future, don't you? I think it has to when there are women such as yourself that are outspoken, and hopefully the next generation that won't be as inclined to perpetuate negative norms? It just occurred to me, too, that not many stories address perceived or real smell associated with periods. It's another source of shame. In the U.S. there is a whole marketing strategy around women's paranoia about vaginal smell. It's so sad. I don't see any marketing tactics for men being paranoid about smelling. Such a double standard. That will probably change, though, too, relatively soon as marketing firms begin to realize there is an untapped market available.

esther atosha
May 31
May 31

hello jill,
our voices are the cry of allert for these marketing firm.
thank you.

Jill Langhus
May 31
May 31

Hello Dear:-)

Maybe so:-)

You're welcome. Hope you have a good and safe Friday and weekend, dear.

esther atosha
May 31
May 31

yes ,i hope you too.

Jill Langhus
May 31
May 31

:-)

XX

Corine Milano
May 28
May 28

Esther, as always, thank you for speaking out! So heartened to see all of the World Pulse community speaking out and sharing our stories on this day - certainly, we won't be silent any longer!

esther atosha
May 31
May 31

dear corine,
this a mos resonable decision we can make about this issue.
thank you dear.

Kadidia Doumbia
May 30
May 30

Dear esther,

In many cultures, worldwide, women are facing this "shaming" situation about something they cannot control and that is a normal state of life for them.
Education is the key, respect is the other part of it. The respect of the woman's body.
It will start with women if they understand that they deserve respect and they don't need to be embarrassed by what is a natural way of living for them, without there won't be reproduction of human beings.
Let's educate about it, about hygiene when it happens and about respecting everything on a woman's body.

esther atosha
May 31
May 31

dear kadidia
''education is the key , respect is another part of it '' you've summirise all in one setence.
thank you.
i hope you're doing something about this issue

Kadidia Doumbia
May 31
May 31

We all are.
Being a woman is a struggle. So, in our everyday life we are struggling, battling for our respect as human beings and as citizens.
Let's all do it together.

Hello, Esther,

I agree with you. The more we talk about menstruation and normalize it, the more we can help girls embrace their periods as something they can love.

Thanks for sharing!

esther atosha
May 31
May 31

dear keren,
thank you too for your contribution. i hope you're doing well

Hello, dear. You’re welcome. Yes, all is well with me. I hope all is well with you, too?

Loreyenick
Jun 23
Jun 23

This is a beginning dear sister, a beginning of lifting the thick vail of Shame that was forced on us from the beginning of times. Educate, speak, be loud, I m here and I got your back. Thank you for this beautiful article.