Thank You!!!

Lirisha Tuladhar

Swishhh.. swishhh.. came a tiny bit of flake of a paper written “thank you”, rustling with the wind, inside the window pane and landing on my lap.

The bus stopped just then- so did my breath. It was scrawled in a tiny childish writing – hardly readable. But I saw it alright and i read it too.

The word started to blur and the sounds surrounding me became a buzz to my ears.. I looked at the entwined hands of him and me- in blur..

I recalled back to our days of starting of love.. hands entwined and strings of hearts knotted together.. I was 18 he was 20- our smiles were infinite.

Our eyes spoke the words of love, heart throbbed with the desire of love. From awkward hugs to missing hugs.. From just a peck on the cheeks to intense love so it went..

Tangling in his arms became a safe heaven for me.. listening and remaking our talks for future became the favourite story to see..

When we grow old what shall we be? Together the children and grand children, you and then me..

A year and two gone.. my 20th birthday- his special gift for me. That ring sparkling on my pale skin promising a lifetime of togetherness. That feel of emotion and love hovering in the air- united us together and forever to our souls and hearts..

Then came the moment of unexpected event- to realize that I had gotten pregnant!

There was that moment of happiness a month ago and then here comes that moment so unexpected to us.

The fault was our- we got carried away in love. Neither we thought of safety nor we planned. His job was just started- not enough for to support a baby. As for myself – I was still a student – how could I manage a child?

A big question mark as to what to do?

Abortion was the only solution- question was how?

Abortion at the correct time- we had to decide just now?

Was the local hospital good enough?

Safe! That was what we exactly needed to focus upon.. we failed to do so once and the mistake shall not repeat again..

Despite the yearning we would have to take the safe step.. safe abortion for our safe future..

The bus started again.. and I felt his hand squeezing mine slightly watching my face in silence. I brushed my tears and looked into his and smiled.

His smile followed- hesitant yet it was there whispering silent words of thank you.

Thank you for being strong it said.. Thank you for giving him hope to recreate future together again..

My smile spoke words of thank you as well.. Thank you for supporting me all through. Thank you for the love and hardship together we have been through.

Resting my head on the heaven of strong shoulder, with content safe smile on my face, riding the safe bus ride back home, thinking- I took my safe step to my future with a SAFE ABORTION, did you?

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What option did she had?

Nisha Adhikari

Rita Thapa, 20, lies in the bed of Prasuti Griha Government Maternity Hospital. She was brought to the hospital in Kathmandu, because of the excessive bleeding after having an unsafe abortion illegally in a  clinic.

She was already a mother of two daughter at this early age. When she was pregnant for the third time, her relatives suggested her husband and mother in law to have a test to identify whether a third one is girl or boy.  After the checkup in one of the private clinic, they found out the third fetus growing in her belly is again a female.

A word “daughter” was enough for her husband and mother in law, so they decided to have abortion. Though Rita insisted not to have abortion, she was helpless in front of her family. At first, her mother in law prepared some homeopathic medicine to induce abortion. Rita continued these medicine for regular 3 days but it was found ineffective. She was already in the 5th month of her pregnancy.

  Though they did not know that they could obtain a safe and legal abortion in government- approved clinic but as per the recommendation of one of their neighbors, they went to the maternity hospital to have abortion but hospital turned them down saying it was illegal to abort a 5 month old fetus as well as unsafe. Again Rita argued with her husband and mother in law saying they have no any option left than to keep this pregnancy. But her mother in law was not ready to have another daughter in her home and she tried every possible way to abort it.

While walking through one of the busy streets of capital, they found a polyclinic where the chemist agreed for the abortion charging them double cost. The chemist said the procedure only takes 10 mins to perform but it actually took 30 mins and after this she had unbearable pain. When she got home, the bleeding did not stop. Because of the continuous bleeding, she lost the consciousness. Again she had to be taken to the Maternity hospital due to such complication.

Even though the sex selective abortion is illegal in Nepal, its rate is incredibly high. Many pregnant women like Rita are forced by societal pressures that demands son and are forced  to get admitted in the illegal settings to have abortion after the ultrasound reveal the sex of the fetus.

Despite the legalization of abortion in our country, lack of awareness, social stigma and lack of implementation of safe abortion policy have forced people to rely on the unsafe and illegal abortion. In order to earn money, private clinics are performing abortions illegally without the trained health professional and facilities leaving women vulnerable to many health complication.

According to the NDHS 2016, 52% of women are still unknown where they can access the safe abortion service. Out of 323,00 abortions performed in 2014, only 42% abortion were provided legally in government approved facilities and remaining 58 % by untrained or unapproved providers or induced by the pregnant women herself. This is why even now 7% of maternal deaths in Nepal are caused due to unsafe abortion.

Abortion can be done safely and is the right of the women.  It should be done within the legal barrier and the person providing or supporting the abortion should trained. But unsafe abortion must be prevented. For this, safe abortion care should be available and accessible everywhere; demand for the contraception should be satisfied. Along with this comprehensive sexuality education should be provided to all including young people. As social stigma is one of the major reason behind the unsafe abortion so it should be addressed flourishing the accurate knowledge and awareness among people.

Men responsible for Unwanted pregnancies?

Shreya Shrestha

Before you argue points like it takes two to tango, hear me out yes it takes two for INTENTIONAL PREGNANCIES, but all unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period.

 

Don’t Believe me? Let’s talk through it.

 

Women can only get pregnant 2 days of each month i.e. the ovulation period and that too for a limited period of time. That makes 24 days a year a woman might get pregnant. But on the other hand, men can cause pregnancies 365 days a year. In fact, if a man ejaculates multiple times a day, he could cause multiple pregnancies daily. In theory a man can cause 1000+ unwanted pregnancies in just one year.  And though their sperm quality degrades as they age, they still can cause unwanted pregnancies from puberty till death. So just starting with basic biology plus the statistics men are the problem here.

 

But what about birth control? If a woman does not want to risk an unwanted pregnancy, why wouldn’t she just use birth control?

 

Modern birth control is the greatest invention of the last century. I am very grateful for it but it’s also very brutal. The side effects for many women are ridiculously problematic. So ridiculous, that when oral contraceptive for men was created, it was not approved because of the side effects. And the side effects for men were about 1/3 of that for the women.

 

But still women are very willing to use birth control. Unfortunately, its harder to get than it should be. Oral contraceptives can’t be acquired easily and don’t work instantly. It requires consistent daily use and does not leave any room for mistakes, forgetfulness, or unexpected disruptions to daily schedules.

 

I am just saying women’s birth control is not simple or easy. In contrast to birth control for men: CONDOMS.

 

Condoms are readily available at all hours, inexpensive, convenient and don’t require prescription. They are effective and work on demand. Men can keep them stocked up so that they are always prepared. They don’t have any side effects and a bonus prevent the spread of STDs.

 

So why in the world are there unwanted pregnancies? Why don’t men use condoms when they have sex? Seems so simple, right?

 

But MEN DON’T LOVE CONDOMS. In fact, men frequently, pressure women to have sex without a condom. And it’s not unheard of for men to remove the condom during sex without the partner knowledge or consent which is given the term STEALTHING, which by the way is assault.

 

Why don’t men love condoms? It’s because of their perception that for the minutes they are penetrating their partner, having no condom on gives the experience of more pleasure. So, there are men willing to risk getting a woman pregnant which means risking her life, her social status, her relationships, her career and so much more for slightly more pleasure.

 

So you tell me who is more responsible for unwanted pregnancies?

Safe Space for the color Rainbow

Image may contain: 1 person

Pratiksha Gurung

Tell me, honestly, if you ever caught a male friend “pink-handed”, pun intended, with a pink lighter or a pink shirt, wouldn’t the word ‘feminine’ come to your mind even if you didn’t snigger or jeer at him?

From the day that babies are brought home and cradled in their pink or blue blankets, implications have been made about gender and color. Walk into any newborn’s room and you can almost always tell the gender of the child based on the colors of its blankets, toys, bedding, walls and so much more. As we grow up, gender color preferences are visible in everything from wardrobes to cars (though nowadays the line is thinning). The study from 2003 by Joe Hallock polling from 232 people from 22 countries all over the world showed 23% of females chose purple as their favorite. No males chose purple as their favorite. But let me tell you, there are actually no concrete rules about what colors are exclusively masculine or feminine.

A group study conducted on subjects in the age range of 7 months up to 5 years, (both boys and girls), had the subjects pick objects of different colors. It was noted that only girls above the age of 2 years picked pink objects while boys over 2.5 years avoided the pink ones. It is evident from this study that: only through everyday observation are children more prone to becoming aware of ‘gender and colors’ stereotyping of this sort.

Color coding is also applied to other gendered conceptions of girls’ and boys’ interests. For example, in a study conducted with 40 children aged between 5 and 15 months, researchers found that adults gave boys sports equipment, cars, tools and blue clothing while the females were given dolls, furniture and pink clothing.

In essence we are limiting the choices of children. Our focus on the color of children’s clothing is so ingrained that it may seem like a law of nature. It can be really hard to defy gender norms, even when one is aware that the bias exists and disagree with it.

Worrying about what colors boys and girls wear may seem like a classic first-world problem. Some may not even consider it an issue at all, considering that boys and girls ARE undeniably biologically different. But children are not genetically predisposed to prefer pink or blue based on their gender; that’s a behavior that they’re cultured into.

Given the prevalence and rigidity of the “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” school of thought today, it’s difficult to imagine things being any other way. However, some evidence suggests that these color lines actually weren’t drawn until the middle of the twentieth century. But by the 1940s, the tables had turned, and society’s equating of pink with femininity and blue with masculinity has remained intact since then. And no matter how the color designations for male and female children have evolved through the ages, the current incarnations appear to be here for the long haul.

Colors, it seems, influence our behavior much more than we realize. There is a growing movement back towards promoting gender neutrality. Even though we’ve made big strides in closing the gender gap in recent years, we have a long way to go. Pink and blue is not just about clothing options for babies. It creates clearly demarcated spaces for little boys and girls, establishing gender stereotypes and carving out spaces within the home and the outside world.

And it is THE time that we rise above the strides of color coding and create safe spaces to practice any rainbow color a person covets, no matter which gender they belong to.

 

My Identity, my Safe Space

Image may contain: Wiweek Susling Magar, smiling

Bibek Magar

That is the moment, I was watching YouTube on my laptop parallel to Facebook as usual. Suddenly, my mother called on phone. I was very frightened because my aunt had already asked me about my sexuality. Since my mum and aunt are very close to each other, I thought my aunt must have shared my sexuality with her. I received my mum’s call and she directly mentioned about homosexuality. At first, I was real nervous thinking how she would react and act with me. I must say I was feeling headstrong as I was to share my biggest fear but the truest part of my life. I had also already read about the successful history of many people alike, so I was pretty sure I could make my mum understand about homosexuality and LGBTI and to accept the person that I am. I and my mum have been close ever since and we do share an emotional bond with each other especially after the death of my father. Just at the age of 23, my mum lost her husband and took into the responsibilities of raising me when she was to focus on her studies and career.

My mom is now in abroad. Social media network has been a very easy option to connect with her. But the moment she called me on phone and asked me about homosexuality was a frightening moment for me even though I had set my mind to tell her the truth because she deserved nothing less than the truth. I started explaining about the time when I had won the social choice in Mr. and Ms. Rainbow pageant and about me. She was literally in shock at first and broke into tears. And who wouldn’t, right?  I tried to console her. She was more afraid of what the society would think. She continued explaining that homosexuality might rather be an influence and that I should start taking medications for it. I elucidated more to her about my sexuality and my identity.

Two day talk with mum and she wouldn’t listen to me. Some people even told her that I was just doing this for money and work. That, my friend, was a very wrong concern instilled to my mum’s mind.  She further asked me where I was working, asked me to leave the job saying she would hand in money if I needed them. I was so in dilemma what to do at that moment but I told her; yes, I am a homosexual mum and yes I am attracted to a male counterpart and yes, I finally told her my biggest fear of my life and felt liberated. I told her I am aware of the societal norms and ideals but I have to live freely and my identity is what matters the most. She started crying again and I had never heard that well of a cry from the bottom of her heart. Seriously, I felt very weak. My precious person. My mother. At that moment, I actually wanted to lie to her saying it was nothing more but a hoax and yet I knew in my heart, this was for the best. With all these rampant thoughts running in my head, I never realized I had started crying too and my mom paused for she had never heard me cry before too.

To be continued…

My Safe Space at YUWA

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

Lirisha Tuladhar

Drip drop on the tree tops are the rain drops all the way from heaven. A place so safe so silent I can only imagine..I have no idea about what safe means.. everywhere I go there seems that the aura of unsafeness lingers by..

I sit by the windowsill waiting for the cool breeze to cherish my face, it feels safe when the silent wind whispers the songs of freedom.. at least im not chained or so it feels..

I walk around but there is that echo that deafens me saying you are unsafe and there is no place called safe space.. i turn back every ticking time to check if i am safe.. i find that sweat rolling off my forehead warning that i am unsafe

The hairs on my body stand up frozen with the smallest of sound in that roadway marking the way i feel unsafe..

Slanting towards the  budding glow of youthfulness there is that perfumed smell of curiosity and new ideas yet the pungent smell of unsafe environment pollutes the innovation and ideas that help flourish the age of youth.

Unsafe when WE travel a bus… unsafe when people give US that look when WE speak in public… unsafe when WE become the only one to speak.. unsafe when OUR voice refuses to speak.   Unsafe when WE walk by the roads – alone..  unsafe when WE walk by the roads-in crowds… unsafe when  talk in  silent tone.. unsafe when WE talk when others are talking too… unsafe when WE stroll peacefully in the park.. unsafe when WE even take the dog for a walk.. unsafe when WE dine at a hotel alone.. unsafe when WE party out with friends in chilled zone.. unsafe when WE was just a child… unsafe still when WE growing up a youth..

WHY??

Because youths stand out! Different! Variety! With colours of innovations that don’t match up the world environment…

Where is SAFE SPACE then??

Does it even exist for YOUTHS?

Yes!! It does..

WHERE?

Right where you are heard;

Right where your peers have similar ideas to collaborate;

Right where your aura spreads with appreciation;

Right where your efforts are acknowledged.

Youth led organizations are mushrooming today and you can feel that familiar feel of the safety that hugs you and lifts you up to face the chains of unsafeness.

Still wondering how to get there? Scared living in the barriers of the unsafe society for so long?

Don’t be.. TRY IT and Experience the flavours of safe space around you. You’ d be surprised as to how much progress you can do when you feel the safeness around you.

Don’t just wait for Unsafe to turn to Safe;

Go and find your own Safe Space for yourself.

I have found my safe space at Yuwa.. Where is your SAFE SPACE?

The Real You in your Safe Space

Image may contain: Mahim Aryal, indoor

Mahim Aryal

You are the real you in your safe space, while you are not the same person you were anymore in unsafe space.

Safe space for youths, Safe space is such an area where youths can share their opinions, discuss, express them or can open up with their self, discarding the stereotypes, discrimination and prejudices.

Where do you feel safe to open up? Home right? Why do you think you feel safe there? Is it because there are people who understand you or is it because you can be yourself? But the rest of the time you are worried about people judging you or you feel uncomfortable because people are staring at you.

Why do you think those unsafe spaces should be turned into safe spaces? It is because you can have your say, so that you can have a healthy discussion about a topic. Safe space is very important in your school, college, workplace, public places, on the streets because the topics of mental health, sex and gender are a very sensitive topic, you can have your say, but you need to think whether you have offended another person because that person might understand the things you say from another perspective which might be offensive to him/her.

Considering the context of Nepal, we need to be empathetic towards other people in order to know whether it is good to speak that specific topic in front of them or not. To allow everybody under the sky become comfortable about any topic safe space is important. So to obtain safe space we need to aware people on that sensitive topic of gender or mental health.

Giving my personal example, I was introduced to the topic of Sexual and reproductive health and rights in 2012, but before that I used to feel uncomfortable in front of transgender people because I was unaware about LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Gender queer.) I used to think they are the way they are due to mistake;it is not a mistake to be a LGBTIQ. If they are proud the ways they are then why do all of us see them like some alien?? I was uncomfortable because I was not used to seeing Transgender people in the markets or in any place. But now, I think they are normal. I learned this through the internet when I became curious.

In order to learn new things, we need to listen to other people’s opinion sometime, in order to have a healthy discussion safe space is essential. Almost all children go to school, if we allow safe space as a culture in the school then, children will embrace this culture. Also, if we add the sensitive topic in the curriculum of children, then they will learn what not to speak in front of other people. And, if we form a group of people and train them to give peer to peer education to the out of school youths or the youth who have dropped out of the school then it will be good for all.