“Why do men rape?” A high school student asked us this question. Not What is rape, but rather Why.
We always knew that talking about Menstrual Hygiene can lead to several other topics beyond menstruation, simply because we get girls to open up and express without fear. And this time, we have little chits and letters that the girls wrote to us at the end of the session, pouring their heart out and wanting answers…
Vyjayanthi and I were invited by ELCIA to conduct our usual Menstrual Hygiene session at Konappana Agrahara Government School, near Electronic city. Fully equipped with our video Mythri, we had a fantastic session with girls
sharing their experience of how they thought their first period was cancer; how attaining puberty at 11 years felt that it was too soon and unfair; their fear about scanty menstruation, white discharge, aches and pains and much more..The one and a half hour session on Menstrual Hygiene, followed by counselling, didn’t seem enough. Before we left, we asked girls what else they would want us to talk about. The answers we got clearly came from a personal experience. Two questions were asked by more than a few girls:
Why does child marriage happen?
It seemed that in the community that the girls come from, child marriage is fairly common and more than 50% girls knew another girl who was married at 15. Many of them were already feeling the pressure of being forced into marriage even before they complete school. The other question asked by a number of girls was “What is Rape and why does it happen?”
Here are some more questions that the girls asked
Why do we have to work at other’s homes?
What is rape? Why does it happen? Why does society look down upon raped women?
Why do fathers and brothers look at their daughters/sisters with desire?
Why do we feel attracted to boys after we attain puberty?
What does abuse mean? How do we protect our self from it?
How can pregnancy be avoided?
How should we conduct ourself once we attain puberty?
To be able to do a more thorough session on these topics and more, we will be going back to the same school next week.