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Beyond the Unspeakable

TW- Sexual assault

“We have been taught far more about shame than about our anatomy.”

I came across this quote while watching a TedEd video, just as I was about to click off. It’s one of the reasons why I am now more open to having such discussions.

From the time we are born, we are told that there are things we shouldn’t talk about. Pads are wrapped in brown paper bags when diapers aren't, even though they, both essentially, do the same thing. Sexual assault victims are blamed, taught to be ashamed and aren't allowed to talk about what happened to them. Suicide attempt survivors can’t talk to people about their experiences and eventually leave the world. Mental health isn’t allowed to be discussed in our households, especially in India. Have we ever tried to question this? Some of us have, but our questions were suppressed with something along the lines of “Because I said so.”

I have guy friends who didn't know what periods were until I told them about it. And some of them have sisters. That’s how much we hide periods. Don't we get tired of it all? Around 4-7 days every month (on average) we all hide our pads in our bags and smuggle them in our pockets like we’re carrying around illegal substances. Almost half of the population has periods; it’s not a medical complication and is completely normal so I don’t understand why we’re taught to hide it so much. First, we’re taught to be ashamed of periods, which develops shame in pregnancy and even more shame in sexual assault victims. How do we expect victims to come forward and stand up against their assaulters if they receive pathetic comments like “They were probably wearing inappropriate clothes.” more than emotional support? We can't even talk about something that happens to us every month and expect people to stand up to their rapists, including children. And the most messed up part is that most of my close girl friends have dealt with at least one encounter like this, most of them at a very very young age. Maybe being a tomboy paid off for me after all and that dealing with societal judgement is better than what these girls live with.

Besides, it’s not even like survivors are getting the justice they deserve, with abortion being banned in so many places. You’re telling me victims are supposed to give birth to their RAPIST’S BABY?? What is wrong with the world we live in?

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