Grandma, it's not my fault!

Sampada Sapkota
Posted March 31, 2020 from Nepal

"Grandma, take your tea." I said.

"Hey you sinful, don't touch me! How dare you speak so loud after all that happened? I can't eat what you cook, you shameless!! You've cut our nose in the society." Grandma shouted at me.

She looked at my father and continued "I had insisted you earlier to get her married. But you didn't listen to me. I had always told you that daughters are like this; mean. Now see what trouble your beloved daughter has brought to us! Who will marry her now?"

"She's just a child mom! I had told you not to take her to Chhau goth. She's too small to understand this." my father supported me.

"Grandma, it's not my fault!" I cried.

"Look, how brave she is. How does she manage to speak up after the incident? Look my son, we have to get her married within a week otherwise this girl can bring us issues. I had told you to remarry and have a son. Had you married then, we would not have faced this situation today!" My grandma continued.

Tears rolled down my cheeks, I could not listen anymore and I went inside.

My story starts from an incident that occurred a week ago.

One fine day, I and my friends were going to kuwa to fetch water early in the morning. We were carrying gagris and were walking slowly talking with each other.

Suddenly, I felt a steady flow of liquid drop through my left thigh. I ignored it at first. But then it happened again. I had never felt anything like that before. I could not understand what was happening and how to react. I felt so strange and looked down at my feet. I saw something like red splash over my left foot and oh gosh that was blood! My friends, too looked at my feet and they noticed the same. We were all of age from 11 to 13 and no one had felt such thing before. I explained what I felt to them and one of my friends said I was menstruating. She said her sister shared it with her.

I didn't know what menstruation was till then. Yes I didn't. And that was because there was no one in my family who would talk to me about these matters. Moreover, talking about such matters is considered shameful in our society.  My family is small. I live with my father and grandmother. My father is a farmer. They say, my mother left me when I was 6 months old. They say grandmother was expecting me to be a son but I was born. So, she doesn't care about me a lot. She always wanted my father to remarry. But he kept on refusing.

After all that, my friends suggested me to return home and we did the same. They told my Grandma about everything that happened and then my Grandma started shouting at me. I was shocked at that moment. "What is my fault after all?" I started questioning to myself. She immediately got into the house, got some rags and asked me to follow her to chhau goth. (Chhau goth is a menstrual hut made from wood or stone.) Then she told me that I had to stay at there for two weeks and wouldn't be able to go to our home or school or temple. She told that she would bring me meals and any other thing I needed. She also asked me to not look at other males. I agreed what she said and spent the day there. The day was easy but as it grew dark, I got scared. It was my first experience after all. At night, Grandma once visited me with food and asked me not to get scared and I'll be used to with it. I had a candle and myself. I stayed awake the whole night. The next day too, grandmother and my friends visited me. They wouldn't touch me. I used to feel helpless and suffocated. Similarly, the days passed and I started getting used to with it. I thought days would pass as that. But then there was a lot left for me. On the second last day, Grandma gave me some food and left. After having my food, I was about to sleep but then, I heard some sound through the bush. At first, I neglected it thinking it might be some insects. But the sound became louder and closer. I became attentive and I saw a huge shadow. That was not an animal for sure. The shadow grew larger and larger and hugged me from behind closing my mouth. The candle was blown off and I don't want to recall what happened. Later in the morning, I came to know that I was raped. That news spread as fast as wind in the village. They tried to hide it but they couldn't and now they're saying these things.

 "What is my fault after all?" I question myself all the time. Now, I know the answer, my fault is that, I'm a girl.

Although I was lucky to belong from a well-educated family and never suffered from such practices, this is a sample story of many girls living in the far western region of Nepal. Still many girls are forced to stay at Chhau goth for two weeks at during their first menstruation, first childbirth and also during their regular periods. Because of this many girls die of suffocation (especially in winter when they try to light fire), wild animal's attack, snake bite, etc. Some girls also become victim of rape. They lack proper menstrual hygiene leading to genital infections. Women in postnatal stage may lack proper nutrition and face many health hazards. They do so because the secretions during menstruation are considered as 'impure' and they believe that if they don't do so God might get angry.

Now a days, Nepalese government in co-ordination with local and provincial government is destroying these Chhau Goth. There are strict legal provisions against this Chhaupadi system in our law. But still, they practice it in some districts of far-western region of Nepal. It is necessary to raise the awareness against such practices. Also, many girls still lack menstrual health education and that should also be provided. There are many such anti-women practices around the world that make women lag behind. Such practices should be eradicated through our common efforts and there should be "Women for women".

 

Comments 19

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Jill Langhus
Apr 01
Apr 01

Hello Lovely Sampada,

How are you and your family doing today, dear? These stories are so sad. I wish they would close the huts for good, but also re-educate people at the same time, so they stop continuing this practice and treating girls and women in this way. Horrible. Thanks for sharing and spreading awareness on this harmful practice. I'm glad you and your friends didn't have to endure it.

XX

Sampada Sapkota
Apr 01
Apr 01

Hi Jill,
We're all safe and well,dear.
Yes, this system still exists in our country. It is necessary to make our people aware on these issues. Though I didn't have to go through it, it is my duty to make all my young girls free from this. And I'll try my best.
Hope you and your family are also safe and well!
With love,
Sampada

Jill Langhus
Apr 03
Apr 03

Hello Dear Sampada,

Great to hear:-)

Yes, I think so! I know you will, dear. It's a noble calling.

Thanks! We are well:-)

XX

Marie Abanga
Apr 02
Apr 02

Dear Sampada,

Thank you for sharing your story. It is sad reading it but is eye opening to what I only before read on the web without thinking that could be real or still going on in our times. Keep raising awareness and hopefully one day all those huts will be shut down.

Sampada Sapkota
Apr 03
Apr 03

Hi Marie,
Thanks for reading. This is sad and real at the same time. Thanks for your encouragement. And I'll definitely continue this journey. Some huts are being shut down now also. Hope all the huts get shut down very soon.
Regards,
Sampada Sapkota

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Apr 02
Apr 02

Whao what a sad scenario,
I hope more efforts would be made by all responsible organizations
in ending these obnoxious acts

Sampada Sapkota
Apr 03
Apr 03

Hi Oluwatoyin,
Let's hope this horrible practice ends very soon!

Chidimma
Apr 02
Apr 02

Hi. Beautiful Sampada
What a sad story. Keep the awareness strong. Hoping that one day people will get to see reason.
Hope your safe.

Sampada Sapkota
Apr 03
Apr 03

Hi Chidimma,
Thanks for reading.
Let's hope so!
Hope you are doing well!

anita shrestha
Apr 03
Apr 03

thank you for sharing

Sampada Sapkota
Apr 03
Apr 03

Hi,
Thanks for reading.
Hope you are staying safe and well!
Regards,
Sampada Sapkota

Metiege Noel Eve
Apr 03
Apr 03

Oh sorry dear it wasn't your fault anyway it is the price of growing up as a young girl without proper guidance. I remember my mum beating me the first time I started menstruating accusing me of having slept with a man that is why I saw my moon at 13 it wasn't my fault mama. I cried too.

Sampada Sapkota
Apr 03
Apr 03

Hi Metiege,
Thanks for reading.
Yeah, many young girls are going through these kinds of awful practices. Felt so sorry for you!
Actually dear, I guess you were a bit confused with the story. This is just a story that reflects the reality but it is not a real story.
Hope you and your family are safe and well!
Regards,
Sampada Sapkota

Metiege Noel Eve
Apr 04
Apr 04

Yes we are by his grace thanks for asking sis

Tamarack Verrall
Apr 04
Apr 04

Dear Sampada,
By telling this story from the mind and heart of a young woman brave enough and determined enough to dare challenge practices and reasoning that continue to oppress and endanger women, you turn it around from "this is what we do", to "this needs to end". I believe that these practises all began to keep men in control. Now through stories like yours we can stand together and make clear that we want all of these oppressive, dangerous ways to end. Because of your story, when people say to me that some things will never change, I can say, it is already changing. What good news that the Government now agrees. All the best with your important work.
In sisterhood,
Tam

Sampada Sapkota
Apr 05
Apr 05

Hi Tam,
Thanks a lot for your encouragement! What you've said is absolutely true. Our government is trying really hard to remove these kinds of rituals. But in some communities, this practice is so deep-rooted that they don't accept to stop following such things. I'll keep trying from my level and continue this journey.
Hope you and your family are doing well!
With love,
Sampada

Sowmya Swaminathan
Apr 06
Apr 06

Dear Sampada,

Thank you for writing this! I'm from India, and many of the practices you've mentioned here happen in the hinterlands of India as well. It is painful to hear and read such stories, but we need to engage with them to understand the root causes, and eventually, move towards solutions.

Thank you for your voice and hope! Take care.

Gratitude,
Sowmya

Sampada Sapkota
Apr 08
Apr 08

Hi dear Sowmya,
Thanks for reading this! Do these kinds of practices exist in India, too? Yeah, you're absolutely right. We must be solution-oriented.
Hope you and your family are safe!
With love,
Sampada

Ironclay
4:50am
4:50am

Dear Sampada,
You're such a brave girl to tell her story. It's very compelling and infuriating how the blame for the rape was placed on the young girl while nothing was done to convict the rapist! I personally feel enraged at how distorted and unfair your situation has been handled. I pray for you that you could fully heal and move on from that experience..and, that you'll grow in influence from your place to the world, be a powerful voice of change!.
Heart from
Ironclay