Home Opinion and Features It’s a bleeding pain period!

It’s a bleeding pain period!


This and that

File photo: Cindy Waxa

THERE are a lot of things that people don’t like to talk about. It’s considered taboo to talk about some things that are part of our daily lives. You do it behind closed doors and when you walk out the room, that’s where it stays.

One of the things that is considered taboo is discussing sex with children – this was especially an off-limits subject when I was growing up. We also didn’t have the internet to help us. Nope we had to either learn by trial or error, friends who constantly embellished everything, or embarrassed biology teachers who tried to go through that section of the syllabus at the speed of light.

And beware your soul if you even thought about engaging in any such behaviour. You were going to go straight to hell.

These days kids are exposed to sex at an extremely early age – a lot of them don’t have a choice and many as a result of socio-economic circumstances.

What children are exposed to today is absolutely scary. Nobody can say they have not either seen a viral video of schoolchildren having sex or heard about it.

So not talking about it isn’t going to make it go away.

Another thing that is also a taboo subject and that should be talked about is a young woman’s menstrual cycle.

It’s something that makes her a woman, besides the boobies. It is a natural thing that isn’t going anywhere, so deal with it! Yes it’s a curse, the pains are sometimes unbearable and we will not even talk about the hormonal havoc it plays with our psyche. But, with all of that, it is something which defines us as woman.

Now companies in South Africa are looking at giving woman “period leave” on the first day of their periods. I can totally understand nobody wants to deal with a “crazy woman on her period”. I’ve been there, done that. And even when it wasn’t en vogue to do so, I used to periodically pull a sicky when I couldn’t handle it anymore. What made it a lot easier was having a male boss. All you had to do was go into his office and say, “women’s problems”. Most of the time he would say, “I don’t want to know. Spare me the details. See you tomorrow.”

The point I’m trying to make is, when you’re “an adult” you have the choice whether you want to go into work when it’s that time of the month and companies these days are more forgiving. And you don’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed as most times nobody even knows you are having your period.

Not so when you are a girl child. In some communities everybody knows as you either stay out of school or you don’t have the necessary products to deal with it.

And that to me is so sad. We take a lot of things for granted even our monthly products.

But, for these young girls who want to make a future for themselves it is dashed because they are forced to stay out of school. Trust me, the first day you miss school your peers gossip and, as a result, a lot of our girl children drop out of school and continue the cycle which is forced upon them. A lot of them will probably get pregnant or even worse get Aids.

How many of these girls could have made a meaningful impact not only on our economy but for our country as a whole.

There have been various campaigns to help keep these girl children in the system such as the Million Comforts which was run by Independent Media and the Dis-Chem Foundation. So far almost three million pads have been collected.

So the next time you are buying your monthly products, chuck another packet into your trolley and help break the taboo and keep our children in school and contributing to not only our country, but also our economy.