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Rural Women

Fear Stalks Her?

Despite huge strides in infrastructure construction, the rural women still face crucial challenges in terms of society’s mindset, attitudes, beliefs, and traditions

Fear Stalks Her?
Photograph by Bhupinder Singh
Fear Stalks Her?
outlookindia.com
2019-10-15T14:20:13+05:30

When it comes to health and emotional issues related to women and girls, especially adolescent girls, in rural India, there is a culture of silence and shame. There is also a tendency to not give it enough importance or priority in a generally male-centric society in which women are supposed to prioritize the needs and requirements of the men-folk, or their elders over themselves. In such an environment, thinking about oneself is considered to be a matter of selfishness, or an individual with loose and non-traditional morals. Hence, there is social conspiracy of silence in rural India around issues such as menstruation, safe sex and STDs, abortion, and other sexual and reproductive health issues.

“I used to write down questions regarding my periods, and leave them for my mother, because I was too embarrassed and scared to speak to her directly,” shares an adolescent girl living in a city. Even if girls do have the courage to talk to their elders, and this is rare, often there is no access to the vocabulary to describe what is happening with the body of a growing-up girl. Such matters are never discussed, and there is no active encouragement to do so. Hence, there is a lack of physical, mental, and psychological spaces for the girls and women.

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