Period Pain: The Suffering Caused By Menstruation Huts
A Nepalese mother and her two children died from suffocation in a menstrual shed, where women are banished during their 'time of the month'.
The ancient tradition of chhaupadi -- where menstruating women are confined to a hut due to being considered 'impure' -- has claimed more lives in Nepal.
Amba Bohara, 35, and her children Suresh, nine, and Ramit, seven, died inside their hut from a fire made to escape the country's freezing winter conditions.
Although banned in Nepal years ago, many Hindu women still use the huts in their villages during their menstrual cycle due to ongoing menstrual taboos.
Bohara was reportedly on the second night of her period when she barricaded herself and her sons inside their hut.
The trio's bodies were found by Bohara's mother-in-law the following morning, charred from the indoor fire made from wood she'd collected a day earlier.
“This has broken my heart,” Bohara's husband -- who works as a manual labourer in India -- told The New York Times.
While exact numbers are not available, there are annual reports of Nepalese women dying annually from the practice of chhaupadi.
The country's Supreme Court banned the huts in 2005 and criminalised anyone who enforces them, but the custom is still prevalent.
The tradition -- where women are restricted from participating in everyday life events -- starts from a girl's first menstrual cycle till menopause.
Because menstruation is viewed as taboo, women on their period aren't allowed to enter temples, touch male family members and read holy books.
They are barred from using community water sources or performing daily functions, like bathing or washing clothing.
Nepalese police continue to view menstruation as a private family issue, and therefore don't strictly enforce the national laws against menstrual huts.
Menstruation should no longer be "secret women's business", said Elizabeth Chapman, founder of eco-friendly menstrual cup company Lunette Australia.
"Menstrual huts and segregation during menstruation [in countries like Nepal] is rarely heard of in Australia, but the fact is many girls here are still skipping school, stealing menstrual products, or using inadequate methods to deal with their period due to poor access to and lack of education on the subject.
"No secrets, no shame, no taboos or myths. Let’s get this discussion out in the open. No more hiding," Chapman told 10 daily.
Featured image: Getty.