Most women have had to deal with that moment when you get your period at an inopportune time and you have no tampons on you, or when you bleed through your pad and stain your pants. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and can most certainly be a source of embarrassment. But Anushka Dasgupta, a student at Jadavpur University (located in the Indian state of West Bengal) is calling on us all to never, ever be ashamed — even when a leak happens.
Earlier this week, Anushka took to Facebook to recount her evening, along with a picture of her blood-stained pants and a pad. But it wasn’t the leak that affected her. It was the response of those around her — people asked her to cover up or ogled her. But the most powerful part of her post is her declaration: “I AM NOT ASHAMED,” she wrote in caps several times.
The post has been shared over 1,000 times, with dozens of people commenting thanking Anushka for standing up for such an essential cause. Period stigma is real and rampant, despite the fact that it’s a biological necessity to keep the human race alive. It’s something that should be celebrated, not winced at — and certainly not something to cover up with a T-shirt.
Thank you, Anushka, for using a negative experience for good, and for speaking out for women everywhere.
Here’s her message in its entirety:
I came home today at four minutes past nine after a long walk, a metro journey and a 10 minute bus ride.
There’s nothing unusual about my evening except for the fact that multiple women walked up to me on my way home and asked me to pull my tee shirt down, most men ogled, all the kids I met didn’t notice/care. I came to know why I was the centre of attention for the better of my journey when a woman (well meaning, I’m sure) offered me a sanitary napkin. I had stained my pants.
So here I was, well past eight, standing alone at Esplanade with a massive red stain across my butt and a rather artistic red dot under the zipper of my pants.
This post is for all the women who offered to help me hide my womanhood, I AM NOT ASHAMED. I bleed every 28-35 days, it is painful at times, I get moody at times, but I walk into the kitchen and get myself some chocolate biscuits and I’m good to go for the next eight hours come hell or high water because I AM NOT ASHAMED.
This post is for all the men who ogled at me today, I AM NOT ASHAMED. Check out the big red blotch on my pants all you want, check out my butt, check out the way I move, come touch me if you dare, and I will show you that I AM NOT ASHAMED. I will take out a sanitary napkin and show you how it works while you can teach me how to pee in public (because clearly you’re not ashamed, and neither am I).
To all the children who didn’t give a damn, DO NOT BE ASHAMED. There will be many bloodstains on pants, on skirts, on bedsheets, on cushion covers, on chairs, on tables, against the wall, and on the battlefield where YOU fight the stigma by NOT BEING ASHAMED. Do not whisper when you utter the word “PERIODS”, do not subtly offer a woman a sanitary napkin, or a fresh change of clothes. ASK her if she needs one, TELL her she has stained her clothes, DO NOT HELP HER HIDE IT.
I AM NOT ASHAMED.
I AM NOT ON MY *period*.
I AM ON MY PERIOD.
(Image via Facebook)