MENSTRUAL STIGMA-RELATED DEATH

Words by John Otieno

It's been such a sad moment for our country Kenya and indeed the world as a whole in the past few days when the country woke-up to a heartbreaking news of a menstrual stigma-related death.

The incident of the lost life of a class six pupil at Kabyangek Primary School in Konoin, Bomet County in Kenya, who committed suicide after a female teacher publicly laughed at her for soiling her clothes with her period is such a gut-wrenching, shocking, and even defeating news. Worst of all, the perpetrator is sadly a female teacher who by all standards and expectations, was supposed to be the first in line to understand the situation and respond as fast as any well-intentioned person would have done.

Moving forward, the height of insensitivity communicated by the incident exposes the gaps in the mitigation plans in ending stigma attached to mensturation. It pains even more to realize that teachers who are expected to join hands in creating a stigma-free environment for our girls to thrive academically are today shutting them down, turning down their invitation by a simple jocularity and as if this is not enough, scolding them for a natural and self-initiating process our girls have no control over.

Therefore the time is now to have an honest conversation about the undealt-with issues surrounding this monster called menstrual stigma. Everyone has a role to play. Let's keep walking the long and tenuous tightrope of hope and struggle by which our worthwhile destination is established.

May the soul of this young girl rest in eternal peace and my sincere condolences to the family and my motherland country, Kenya

'Period-shamed' schoolgirl took her own life

A schoolgirl in Kenya has taken her own life after allegedly being shamed in class for having her period and staining her uniform. The 14-year-old's mother said her daughter hanged herself after being humiliated by a teacher, Kenyan media reported. Police used tear gas to disperse a crowd of about 200 parents protesting outside the school, reports said.