Kozhikode: Even as debates and controversies surrounding the Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala is making the headlines, the 'Happy to Bleed' campaign is back - this time as a gathering and a book to be launched soon. Titled 'Arppo Arthavam' (hailing menstruation), people are encouraged to write stories, draw pictures or narrate their experience on anything connected to menstruation on the Facebook page under the hashtag Aarppo Arthavam. The same would be collected by a publisher in Ernakulam to be made into a book.
It is not a collective effort against the recent protests challenging the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of child-bearing age entry into the hill shrine. Many who are tagging the same hashtag had started their campaign against the menstruation taboo long back. Since it's high time an awareness is created in the open, as women are restricted from religious activities quoting them as 'impure' during periods they are sharing their experiences.
For Sreelakshmi Arakkal, a student and part-time teacher, her public discourse on the topic had started in January itself. “I was doing my post-graduation then, and two of my friends had their mothers with their uterus removed over health issues. Still, girls were very reluctant to speak on that issue. I wrote a public post on menstruation in Facebook, seeking advise from my doctor friends. There were women who did not know that using the same napkin for more than five to six hours causes infection. The doctors provided ample information to remove the taboo,” said Sreelakshmi, who hails from Iritty in Kannur.
Activists from across the state are expected to attend the gathering scheduled at Vanchi Square at Ernakulam on Sunday. The event is open from 10 am to 9 pm.
Sad end for TN girl
Recently there was the tragic case of 12-year-old girl S Vijaya who fell victim to menstrual taboo. The teenager was killed after a coconut tree uprooted and fell over the shed where she was forcefully made to stay outside her home at a time when Cyclone Gaja wreaked havoc, since it was her first menstruation cycle. Her parents, hailing from Anaikkadu village near Chennai, believed that as part of the custom, the girl should stay in a separate shed during her first period.
They ignored the alerts of the local administrators to shift to safer places and Vijaya met with a tragic end. According to her neighbours the girl was heard crying in fear at night. Different communities in the area prefer girls to stay outside their house for seven to 16 days during menstrual cycle.