Target: Honorable Mr. Kalyan Shrestha, Senior Justice, Supreme Court of Nepal
Goal: Enforce the 2005 law forbidding chaupadi, the Nepal tradition of forcing menstruating females outside.
Many Nepali women are forced to stay outside during their period despite a 2005 law forbidding “chaupadi,” a practice based on ancient Hindu beliefs that menstruating women are “infectious.” The sheds in which these women are forced to eat and sleep are horrific, and oftentimes, young girls are sexually assaulted while sleeping in them. It’s time for the Nepali Supreme Court to enforce the law banning the practice of chaupadi and take action against those abusing menstruating women.
NPR released the story of Kamala B.K., a 14-year-old Nepali teen who lives in fear each month. During menstruation, Kamala is not even allowed on the porch. In fact, she will be beaten if she gets near her or any surrounding home. The fragile girl is so frightened that she bursts into tears and runs away when Cecile Shrestha of the nonprofit organization Wateraid assures her it’s okay to approach her.
Kamala started her period at 11 and, although terrified, began her monthly ritual of sleeping outside. Kamala has been taught that if she enters the home while menstruating, all the people and animals will become sick. She believes the Gods will curse the house and that her hands will deform.
NPR reports Kamala’s shed resembles a cage. It is made of wooden bars and all she has to protect herself from rain is a piece of plastic. During monsoon season, she is drenched. At times, two or three other girls share the shed, and they are so cramped, they cannot lie down to sleep.
The unfounded stigma against menstruation dates back centuries and spans many cultures, and it’s time to put an end to this abusive ignorance. Demand the Nepali Supreme Court enforce its 2005 law. We must fight for the rights of menstruating women throughout the world.
Dear Honorable Mr. Kalyan Shrestha,
NPR released a shocking report of the abuse against menstruating women in Nepal. Girls and women continue to be banned from their homes during menstruation and are forced to sleep in uninhabitable sheds. Many women are not protected from the elements and live in fear of being sexually abused while outside.
As you are aware, menstruation is not an evil thing that causes women to become infectious, and your court ruled against ostracizing menstruating women in 2005. Unfortunately, it appears that many Nepali villagers continue to practice what your country calls “chaupadi,” and girls not even in their teens are forced outside. This must stop.
As Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Nepal, I encourage you strongly to enforce your 2005 ruling that bans the practice of chaupadi and begin taking action against those who break the law. I also encourage you to educate your people in the biological facts of menstruation, so they come to understand that the ancient Hindu beliefs are not only unfounded, but also ridiculous. Stop allowing your people to abuse young girls and women for a biological necessity they cannot control.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Bicanski