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A 14-Year-Old Was Reportedly Driven To Suicide After She Was Humiliated At Her Own School For Having Her Period

A 14-year-old Kenyan girl killed herself after being period shamed by a teacher when she did not have access to a pad. The tragedy has caused unrest in Kenya, unifying women Parliament members to end period stigma, causing parents to mobilize, and launching a formal investigation into the girl’s death. Period shame around the world is an oppressive force that undermines bodily autonomy, education, and personal freedoms for girls and nonbinary people by stigmatizing a basic body function.

According to the United Nations Population Fund report on Menstrual Health Management in East and Southern Africa, “Studies from Kenya find that schoolgirls engage in transactional sex to pay for menstrual products, particularly for the younger, uneducated, economically dependent girls.” 

In the United States, a survey of 1500 women and 500 men by THINX revealed that 58 percent of women felt a sense of embarrassment for simply being on their period and 42 percent said they had been explicitly period shamed.

While Kenya has recently taken steps to make sanitary napkins more accessible at schools, this structural failure has led to a tragic loss. 

Period shaming can have tragic consequences. 

A 14-year-old Kenyan girl started her period for the very first time while at middle school in Bomet County, Kenya. When she couldn’t obtain a pad, the girl began to bleed through her school uniform. Unable to concentrate, due to the incident, she asked for help. Then her teacher berated her in class, calling her “dirty” for staining her clothes. 

Forced to leave the classroom, she walked home. After telling her mother what happened, she said she was going to go fetch water, but instead, she killed herself. According to a local Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation, Konoin Sub-County Police Commander Alex Shikondi said that officers took the girl’s body to a nearby hospital. 

“When police arrived at the scene, they found the girl had committed suicide… and the body was moved to Kapkatet Hospital mortuary,” said Commander Alex Shikondi.

Parents want answers.

The girl’s mother, Beatrice Koech, spoke to Daily Nation about what happened. She claimed her daughter believed the female teacher would be an ally to her, and help her understand what was happening. Instead, her daughter was shamed in front of the classroom. 

“She had nothing to use as a pad,” Koech told the newspaper. “When the blood stained her clothes, she was told to leave the classroom and stand outside.”

Koech reported the incident to police, but after four days of inaction, parents stormed the school in protest. Parents wanted to know why the teacher shamed the 14-year-old. Police threw tear gas canisters at the parents who were blocking the road to the school. Officers arrested five demonstrators. The school was closed and students were sent home. 

Basic Education Act of 2017

Kenya passed the Basic Education of 2017, which makes access to menstrual napkins mandatory in public schools across the country. Pads in public schools are not a mere luxury, the necessary product is inaccessible to many in the region. Just last year, the capital of Kenya itself was hit with a tampon shortage when there was massive Kotex recall in Nairobi due to a malfunctioning batch.

When a person has their period and no sanitary napkins or tampons, they are more likely to stay home from school. This can have negative effects on girls’ and nonbinary folks’ education and self-esteem, often making children feel like a burden. 

“The cost of menstrual products may also contribute to the perception that daughters are economically burdensome,” according to the United Nations

School is often the only place where students can get pads, which is why the Basic Education Act is great. Nevertheless, many schools have still not implemented the program or have been skipped over. 

Kenyans want justice.

According to BuzzFeed, “An organization called One Dollar for Life, which makes and distributes reusable pads to girls across Kenya, has ramped up its outreach in light of the girl’s death last week. Program manager Brenda Birrell told BuzzFeed News via email that the group plans to hand out 1,000 reusable pad kits — which also contain information about self-defense, female biology, and feminine hygiene — over the next two months.”

Women members of Kenyan’s Parliament occupied the Ministry of Education to pressure a police investigation. After parents and lawmakers held their ground, the police finally launched a formal investigation into the girl’s death.

“What must she be going through in her life to have that be her reaction?” Megan White Mukuria, whose organization ZanaAfrica Foundation provides pads and reproductive education to girls, told BuzzFeed. 

“The reality for a lot of women can be very difficult. [Maybe] her cup has not been filled, and her rights have not been taught to her.”

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An ICE Nurse Says That Migrant Women Are Having Hysterectomies Performed Without Their Consent While In Detention Centers

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An ICE Nurse Says That Migrant Women Are Having Hysterectomies Performed Without Their Consent While In Detention Centers

Janis Christie / Getty Images

On Monday, news broke that an ICE detention center in Georgia was performing mass hysterectomies on migrants without their consent. The allegations came from a nurse at the facility along with numerous detained migrants and left many people shocked.

However, the U.S. has a long history of forcing people – especially people of color – into unwanted sterilization, which is a human rights violation and a form of eugenics.

Of course, when it comes to undocumented immigrants, who are regularly referred to as “unwanted” “aliens” by the current president, it’s not so surprising that these practices went unreported for so long. One immigrant in the complaint put it best: “This place is not equipped for humans.”

An ICE nurse and several migrant women allege that a doctor is removing women’s reproductive systems without their consent.

According to the complaint filed Monday by Project South, an Atlanta-based non-profit, a high number of detained immigrant women held at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Ga., are receiving hysterectomies, as well as other “dangerously unhealthy practices” at the prison amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dawn Wooten, who worked full-time at the detention center until July, when she was demoted to work as needed, said she and other nurses questioned among themselves why one unnamed gynecologist outside the facility was performing so many hysterectomies on detainees referred to him for additional medical treatment. She alleged about one doctor that “everybody he sees has a hysterectomy,” and that he removed the wrong ovary from one young detainee.

“We’ve questioned among ourselves like, goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out…That’s his speciality, he’s the uterus collector,” Ms. Wooten said in the complaint.

One detainee, interviewed by Project South, likened the center to “an experimental concentration camp,” adding: “It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies.”

“If it wasn’t for my faith in God, I think I would have gone insane and just break down and probably gone as far as hurting myself,” the woman said. “There are a lot of people here who end up in medical trying to kill themselves because of how crazy it is.”

The same prison has also come under fire for its medical practices amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Credit: Samuel Corum / Getty Images

Project South said the complaint alleges “jarring accounts from detained immigrants and Wooten regarding the deliberate lack of medical care, unsafe work practices, and absence of adequate protection against Covid-19.”

It summarizes the disclosures Dawn Wooten made to the DHS’s watchdog, and quotes unidentified detainees extensively. Covid-19 complaints included staff refusing to test symptomatic detainees, failing to isolate suspected cases, and not encouraging social-distancing practices.

For their part, ICE says to take the reports with skepticism.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative released this statement to Law & Crime News in response to the complaint: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General, which provides independent oversight and accountability within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE takes all allegations seriously and defers to the OIG regarding any potential investigation and/or results. That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”

Women in ICE custody have long been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.

Credit: Getty Stock

Immigrant detention centers have long been accused of subpar medical care. However, the issue has become even worse amid the pandemic. The report filed by Project South describes how migrants are forced to live in unsanitary and unsafe conditions and even thrown into solitary if they advocate for basic human rights. But even before the outbreak, immigrant women’s bodies have always been the target of medical malpractice and cruelty.

ICE has allegedly denied treatment to detained women with cancer, brain tumors, and breast cysts, and it has a history of policing their bodies. The Trump administration has been accused of tracking migrant girls’ periods to prevent them from getting abortions, introduced a policy to deny pregnant women visitor visas, and literally ripped mothers apart from their babies during family separation. Azadeh Shahshahani, the legal and advocacy director for Project South, said women held at ICDC have said they are not given clean underwear which leads to infections and rashes.

She said detained women, who are mostly Black and brown, are in extremely vulnerable situations in which “they have no control over their bodies.” “It’s a very exploitative situation,” Shahshahani said of the hysterectomies. “There does not seem to be informed consent … they had pretty much no say in what exactly took place.”

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Best Hack To Help You Stop Saying ‘Sorry’

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Best Hack To Help You Stop Saying ‘Sorry’

IslandRepublic

Here’s a question: how often do you find yourself saying “sorry” too much?If you’ve ever found yourself apologizing for someone else’s behavior or approaching a receptionist at an office by saying: “I’m sorry to bother you but I have a question”… you might have an apology problem on your hands. Whether you’re people-pleasing, a perfectionist, feeling insecure, or just doing it unconsciously, over-apologizing is a bad habit that all women should learn to unlearn.

Fortunately, there are cures and hacks for avoiding saying “sorry” too often and Latinas are sharing them on Instagram

A recent drawing we shared on our Instagram page, not only maps out ways to stop using the word but prompted other Latinas to share their tricks as well.

Recently, an artist on Instagram shared a drawing that maps out how to stop saying sorry when you don’t really need to. The post inspired users to share similar hacks to avoid apologizing.

It also got women to open up about why they do so.

Check out some of the tricks and reasons below!

This chica who learned that the “I’m sorry” and “don’t say you’re sorry” thing can be cyclical.

“My ex used to tell me this. He said I say sorry too much. When I’d say it, he’d ask what are you sorry for, you didn’t do anything. It’s like we were raised to be sorry for even being alive.” – moneekers

“Yes! Thank you for this!! Would it be much to ask if you all made another one on ‘how to say no.’ I over apologize and I suck at saying ‘no’ whenever I don’t want to do something.” – krna.drn3

“I’m so guilty of apologizing unnecessarily.” – mandieofmiami

This headliner.

“Been difficult to unlearn when you’re raised as a latina. Everything is an apology: disculpe, me puede dar la hora? Ay que pena, mis discuppas por llegar tarde, diaculpen la pobreza.” – m_n_m1975

I have been saying this for years. Save your sorry for when you are truly sorry. We, in this society, have been so conditioned to say sorry for everything that, I feel, the word has lost its meaning.” –longbeachliferadiotv

“Literally was talking yesterday about how this is a thing that I do that I need to stop. I need to cap myself at two apologies for the same thing. Anything more and it gets weird for the other person.” – MermaidZombie

“Space them out. One in the moment (or whenever you realize you did something you need to apologize for), and one after you have some time to think. The second should show that you’re aware you messed up, you regret it, and you’re working to make sure it won’t happen again… but they should both be succinct.” –AngryAngryAlice

This apology sandwich hack.

“Apology sandwich. Apologize, explain your actions, apologize again.” –OldSchoolNewRules

“If your tone is less than “I fucked up, and I hurt you, and it will never happen again” type of thing, then maybe an apology isn’t appropriate at all. “Thank you for being flexible” rather than “Sorry I couldn’t drive you to the airport,” for example.” –CowboyBoats

Try replacing “sorry” with “thank you”

“Genuinely the best advice for this. My girlfriend says sorry for things like the weather or a bad driver. She’s started replacing it with thank you. So “sorry for the weather” turns into ‘thank you for coming out with me despite the rain.’ Every time you go to say sorry, think of how you can thank someone for the same situation.” –NumerousImprovements9 points·2 years ago

“Yes!! Exactly this. I’ve been getting better with not apologizing and now I’m trying to work on not saying the word “just”. I’ll sprinkle it in like “Hey can I have just a moment of your time.” or “I just need you to complete this.” It really minimizes what I’m trying to say and trivializes the importance of the task.” –SpiritedAnybody

This trick is a reminder that you shouldn’t apologize just to get off of the hook.

“I used to be like this. I thought it would ‘absolve’ me or make me a better person or whatever, but it was the opposite. It’s super toxic. Apologizing is supposed to make the other person feel better… not you. If somebody has to make you feel better afterwards, then it wasn’t an apology in the first place.” – EntropyMuffin

“A few years ago a senior, female colleague overheard me making phone calls and commented on how often apologised. She suggested that I stop, I did, and realised that people seemed to respect me more because of it. Success! Around the same time, I stopped being ‘the smiley one who makes cupcakes’ at work and focused on developing a more professional. I’m still friendly and approachable, but I now make a point of earning respect through hard work and try to give better praise to my coworkers (e.g. “great work” rather than “I like your hair”).” – damnfinecupotea

Always remind yourself that saying “sorry” one too many times can make others think you’re not very confident or capable.

“This is good advice in general. I’ve noticed at work that whenever someone points out something I’ve done wrong (even when I had no way of knowing that thing was wrong, such as when the person in charge of a project changes its goals and doesn’t specifically tell me), I’ll always say sorry. I’ve noticed though that the people higher up here never say sorry for anything, which is probably partly why they’re higher up – they appear stronger. The thing is, when I say “sorry” what I often mean is “I didn’t mean any offence/ill intent in doing this thing.” Maybe I should stop, but it just seems more polite than saying “Okay, sure” when someone points out a mistake I’ve made.” –JupiterCloud

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