NO MEN ALLOWED! Homelessness and Your Period

J. Harris

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“There’s a layer of shame when you don’t have a pad or tampon, and an extra layer of shame when you can’t afford it."

This is not only a women’s issue as it is a life issue. Maybe men don’t understand this so let me address only the women at this point.

Being able to access products is certainly a big deal for the homeless women in our society.

SCHOOL

Not only them as this need is wide-spread from middle school to beyond as long as you menstruate. For example, what if you were in the middle of class and your period started. There are times when you can’t predict it and can’t control it.

You know it will come, but not the exact time, so you have nothing with you and you have to leave school because of what we women call an “accident.” Your clothes are usually ruined and you are too embarrassed to go back to class.

You probably don’t have any extra clothes with you to cover up the problem. So now you have to go home and miss out on the day’s curriculum. This cuts down on how you thrive.

According to the United Nations Girls Education Initiative, when a girl misses school because of her period it is estimated to miss an average of two and a half weeks of school each year. Other estimates say girls may miss up to 20% of the school year. These girls are then at risk of dropping out, which may then be costly to the economy — and to them.

HOMELESSNESS

Per an article in Teen Vogue:

In the homeless situation, not being able to thrive might means missing a job interview, meaning you then miss out on the job that may have changed your housing situation. It might also mean not going to school for fear of bleeding through your pants. Stephanie M., who also asked that her last name not be used, told Teen Vogue that she would routinely miss school because of her period when she was young and experiencing homelessness.

“I wish that I would have been able to go to school,” Stephanie told Teen Vogue. “It was another chaotic thing added on to my life. It was definitely something I was stressed about and anxious about.” Also, headaches, migraines and the pain of cramps all add up to loss of productive hours.

Stigma, Stephanie told Teen Vogue, plays a big part in why people experiencing homelessness lack access to menstrual products. Not only does it create a sense of shame and embarrassment, it’s part of why period products aren’t a regular part of things we donate or consider giving away.

I SUPPORT THE GIRLS ORGANIZATION

There is an organization, “I Support The Girls” that is helping women to have better and easier access to bras, underwear, and menstrual products. This is one of the largest group of men and women helping women get what they need when they have no money to buy these products.

They donated products to women that were effected by the government shutdown as it came to light that people do actually live from paycheck to paycheck. I don’t care who you are.They have the same expenses when there is income or not.

I am only bringing home the point and increasing the awareness of this problem as it effects women over the globe.

That’s half of the population of the world. We can do better.

Update 2020

They are still collecting products but the donations has drastically dropped due to the pandemic. With donations down three people put together a 5K run. Here was their plan:

"The vision behind the Padtastic Pandemic 5k was simple: an inclusive event to boost awareness, support, engagement and donations in a time when it’s easy to lose connection. Anyone could participate and participants decided how they wanted to take part. The Affiliates encouraged participants to share their runs, jogs, walks and bike rides on social media using the #Padtastic5k hashtag and donate to the cause themselves. As the month of May ended, the virtual 5k raised a grand total of $1656.82 with 72 participants!"

The Padtastic Pandemic 5k reminds us that we can still come together as communities and create meaningful change. It may be a little more difficult, but our ISTG Affiliates are up for the challenge. Source: https://isupportthegirls.org/2020/06/the-padtastic-pandemic-virtual-run/

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I usually write about a lot of subject matter from my own personal life to animal behavior. Everything in between. I have been writing for over two years but have always been a writer and avid reader. I lived in Atlanta, GA for sixty years then moved to South Florida and it was a huge change for me. I write truth as I see it in hopes it will help others.

Plantation, FL
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