IMG_9148.JPG No, Chhaupadi is not a celebration. Chhaupadi is a tradition that is honored in Nepal for women when they are menstruating and post childbirth. Instead of staying home, they are shunned and forced to live in a hut where they are vulnerable to the elements around them.

When researching Chhaupadi I learned that the women who are left in these huts are unprotected. They are vulnerable to rape and sexual assault. In one of the interviews I watched a young girl stated that she became pregnant while partaking in Chhauapdi. She was forced to leave school with her child at the age of thirteen. She detailed being alone in the hut when the man stepped in and forced himself on her. Due to the rape she was shunned and shamed by her community for something that was not her fault.

Sexual assault may be one of the most horrible things to happen during Chhaupadi, but it is not the only problem these girls and women face. On top of losing out on an education, they have to find alternatives to get food and clean clothes. There are some cases where women do not receive the necessary living essentials for a week away from home. In fact, some women are forbidden from touching kitchen utensils on day their period starts. Not only are they finding ways to make meals, they need to find alternatives to make for cleaning themselves.

IMG_7520.JPGWomen are considered “impure” during their period in these parts of the world, hence the reason for the hut. When watching videos on YouTube and reading articles the young girls and women showed they have to do things entirely separate. They have to find a way to bathe and wash their clothes. In one of the interviews, a girl stated she didn’t understand why she needed to take drastic measures during her period. She stated she felt that as long as she is able to keep herself clean, it shouldn’t matter whether she stays at home or not.

In 2005, Chhaupadi was outlawed in Nepal. However, the “tradition” still takes place today. It has been slow to outlaw and leave behind. In parts of the interviews and articles women stated they felt that it was necessary to partake in Chhaupadi because it is how they had been raised. Even, a young women who admitted to being sexually assaulted felt that Chhaupadi is the best way. There have been men and women who have stepped up to end Chhaupadi. But, sadly Chhaupadi continues today.

The Dad Factor

IMG_6770.JPGThis next post was not an easy one to write. In fact, I thought this would be the easiest post to write about my period experience. This period post is dealing with Dad. I have a loving father who has always been supportive of me. But, I will say it was kind of odd having to admit that he found out I had menstruated for the first time.

I remember it was a couple of days after I had received my first period. I had to take a shower in the morning and he came in to remind me to take one. After he told me that my mother had informed him of me receiving my period. I shot up out of bed asking him how he found out. It was early in the morning and he told me that my mom had told him.

IMG_9645I do admit it was a little embarrassing. I mean, my mom is a woman and my dad is a man. I didn’t tell him at all that I had menstruated for the first time. My mom is the one who had told me what a period is. I never had the talk with my dad. But, never the less my dad had found out.

You see, the problem I had with my dad finding out about my period is that he never had one (biology I know). I didn’t know how to talk to him about it. I was told it was a “women thing.” When I traveled with him, I didn’t want to tell him about it. When it comes down to buying sanitary products, I depended on my mom to get them. I never looked to my dad. I never depended on my dad for a product like this.

IMG_6633.JPGBut, never the less there have been times when my dad has realized that I am menstruating. When he notices he doesn’t judge me. He doesn’t look at me funny or weird. He just doesn’t bring it up. Ultimately, I was worried about my dad finding out about my period because of these feelings I had.

While I am thankful to have a dad who is supportive and understanding during “my time of the month,” but there are problems I still remember encountering. How do I tell my dad I need to take an extra long shower? How do I let him know that I need Advil? How do I tell him I need “products” when we were on vacation together? When I was a teenager, these were the questions that I would have to ask myself.

The only way I was able to overcome this was by learning to trust my dad. I had to learn to trust that he would be understanding. Now that I am an adult, I don’t need to depend on my dad for such things. But, when I was younger in high school and middle school I had to learn to trust my dad for help in those situations. I was able to confidently confide in my dad when when I needed something for my period. It didn’t happen often, that much I will admit. But, trust was the main factor.

The moment my dad told me that he knew that I had my period it felt off. I didn’t understand why my mom had told my dad about this. But, I did learn why, quickly, when I was in a situation and my mom was not home. You see, there is no real easy way to deal with dad. In fact, that one of the reasons this post is coming later than I expected. I never talked with my dad about my period. But having a dad who had no problem telling me he knew about me menstruating for the first time helped break the ice.

IMG_6771There is no easy way to close out this blog post. My dad and I do have a close relationship. I do understand there may be confusion and awkwardness for letting your dad know that you are menstruating. I went through it and I am pretty sure every girl has gone through it. There is no easy way to say how to deal with your dad on your period. Everyone is different when it comes down to letting a man know about your period, even if it is your dad.