Condom or sanitary pad to be free?

Pooja Panthee

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If we go through the social media we can find the debate going on between condoms should be free or sanitary pad should be.

If being a girl being emotional I would support sanitary pads must be free instead of condoms. Reason is sex is choice but mensuration is not. Again if I think of the importance of condom like it saves some one from pregnancy or transmission of different sexually transmitted diseases.
With the on going debate my mind thought for long period of time and I realized the main focus here is neither condom nor the sanitary pad. Rather it is gender or things used by male and female.
We all know the importance of sanitary pad as well as the condoms. Had not the condoms being free we would have had more than half of the population of Nepal being victimized by HIV/AIDS .
Instead of asking for free health services, free education services we are involving ourselves in unwanted debate and comparing two important product in our life.

If you ask me which one should be free between two I would ask you which do you want to be pollution free air or water? Wasn’t that worthless question to answer same is the debate to me.
Yes, I do agree many girls miss their classes due to their period and one the reason is unable to buy pads or sanitary napkins .But you know one thing instead of asking government to make menstrual pad free. We can demand to give free training to make re use able pad which are good for our health as well. It will not be costly either and we can make it ourselves.

Talking about condoms, can we make it ourselves or do any other contraceptive prevent from STDs like the condoms do?


Not Just Bodies

Shreya Shrestha

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A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me why girls get upset when guys comment on their bodies. I tried explaining but I think I confused him more. I have a better explanation now.

The first time I noticed a guy looking at me and more specifically my legs was when I was about 16 years old and he was much older than me maybe in his late 20s. There was no way anyone would have mistaken me for an adult. To that guy it did not matter who I was or even how old I was. To him I was a set of legs to gawk at, not a person and certainly not a child.

My experience is very common. Girls start getting unwanted attention at an early age and it happens for the rest of our lives. Boys catcall us on the streets, they purposely try to come and touch and feel you. They yell things at us and try to invade our personal space in the streets, in vehicles, and where ever possible. They come sit next to us in public vehicles even though there are many empty seats available. They try to look up our skirts when we sit down. They don’t listen when we decline them.

We see reports of girls getting raped on their way home, another girl whose body was found in a ditch. We are told not to go outside alone, not to stay out late. We are constantly told that even your friends can hurt you if they are drunk because they are men. We are told not to talk to anyone we don’t know. We are told to use our keys as weapons and not to go in crowded places for we might be groped and made uncomfortable. We are told to always be on guard and on a look out because these things might happen anywhere and at anytime.

Imagine hearing this since a young age. Imagine being told that men are more likely to hurt you than women. Imagine one of the people you regard as a threat to your body now wants your body. If he really does you will have a hard time stopping him and people will objectify you for ‘letting him’ to hurt you. Imagine being blamed for something that has happened to you and affects you. They will ask you why didn’t you did more to protect yourself or why you wore such clothes or who asked you to walk around at night alone.

I am not saying all men are awful, but there are a number of men who are. They make us uncomfortable and unsafe in our normal lives. We cannot distinguish between a decent man and a potential rapist just by looking.

Girls get upset when boys comment on our bodies because we are objects and treated like source of pleasure, not people. We are angry because we can’t go on with our lives without the fear of sexual predation. We get scared because when it comes down to it we will eventually be blamed for his mistakes.

Girls get upset because we would much rather be seen as people, not just bodies.

Gender Portrayal

Pooja Panthee

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How it feels like to be different. But the society portrays it so abnormal. How it feels to be understood as sin something you feel so right. Inside I was confused if I was really abnormal. I was made ashamed of being myself.

I was born as a baby boy. I played with guns, wore blue and black color. But I loved playing with dolls and dress-up like a girl. When I was five I loved painting my nails, wearing mom’s make-up and all those things that society expects to be done by a girl or female. But I could do this only in my room closed not outside. I shared it with my best friend and she said its better if I die, no one will accept me that way. With a ray of hope and a little bit of courage, I explained and shared everything to my mom. I expected her to understand but she went shocked and reacted as if I had done something wrong. She shouted angrily and explained everything with dad. Most probably they both were in tears. 20 lashes of his belt made me live all my teenage years in fear. I smiled everyday and pretended to be a boy everyday as my mother had warned me to kill self if I ever behaved like a girl.

But at the age of twenty two I realized this won’t work anymore. I couldn’t fake everyday who I wasn’t. I decided to leave my parents house. I wore a beautiful dress, high heel and make-up too. I felt amazing until people whispered… … … as I passed by, gave the title unfit, sinner, bla-bla. But I decided not to give a shit about it until it got to be too much. I decided to die, I wanted to die. I was devastated, felt worthless, helpless but finally ended my life.

This is not only story from diary of one of my transgender friend rather the reality of the society where I belong to. They don’t understand transgender is just a person whose sense of personal identity and gender doesn’t correspond with their. Being transgender is not a choice rather the work of nature which is as normal as being left handed. When you can accept the left handed people why not transgender. Don’t push them to the point where they don’t have any ray of hope, they kill themselves and you yes you who bullied, back bitted and mistreated becomes the murderer.

They deserve to be treated like you and me. Let’s create a world with no discrimination. Let’s stop making them feel ashamed of themselves. Before being male or female or tansgender we are all human. Everyone of us do have feelings .Everyone of us feel good when we are praised and felt proud of us.They are also among everyone of us, why not make them feel proud of who they are. Lets unite and make each other blessed for our existence and have the feeling of humanhood and save HUMANITY!

Following your heart

Swechchha Adhikari

Have you ever wondered, how it is when you start really following your heart? Well… Let me tell you it’s the best most difficult decision that you can take for yourself. Probably you will disappoint your family, friends and others …Probably you will have to finish your relationship of years…Probably you will have to leave your house, your town, your country …Probably you will need to start again …Probably you will need to take important decisions like leaving behind the “things you like most”, like your possessions …Probably you will get afraid …Probably you will feel lonely during the journey …Probably the people around you will judge you, criticize you and think you are finally crazy …Probably you won’t have enough money.

But the most important of all the probabilities is that you: Probably, you will find yourself. Probably, you will finally have the friends that you always need. Probably, you will understand that family is not always about blood but about feeling at home. Probably, you will become stronger. Probably, you will become rich in all senses. Probably, you will become brave. Probably, you will find you real love. Probably, you will realize that your home it’s always in your heart. Probably, your perspective about “the world” will change. Probably, you will become a happy person. And probably for the first time in your life you won’t give a fuck for anything and anybody and you will finally


Messed Up

Sabbu Maharjan

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Sandhya was an English teacher and in charge of secondary level in a public school in Lalitpur. She has two children aged 14 and 5. She was married to Laxman, a public vehicle driver when she was only 21. They both were in love, when they were only 15. After having a long affair of 6 years, finally, they got married with their parents consent. They both studied together but due to financial problem in Laxman’s family, he had to quit school and look after his family from a very small age. Because of his family problems, he started drinking alcohol soon after he left the school, to overcome and forget his family matters. But who knew, he would be habituated to alcohol.

Sandhya, on the other hand, was from a good family and completed her study and had a good job. Due to his continuous drinking habit, he used to hit Sandhya and did not even spare the children. He apologized when he was sober and said he did not mean to hurt her intentionally. Initially, she thought his controlling behavior was a sign of his love for her. But his alcoholism grew increasingly serious and Laxman, was more often than not, always aggressive and hit her even when it was not necessary.

One night, Laxman got home drunk and shouted at her because she had served only dal and bhaat. He hit her with the plate lying in front of him, which his baby son, hiding behind the closet saw it. He got so afraid that he could not speak straightly to his father after that and developed stammering problems. Gradually Sandhya realized that Laxman’s drinking habit was growing badly and it was not right to be beaten again and again. So, she decided to talk to him when he was normal and not in drunk state. But instead of understanding her, he had an argument with her and laid his hands on her, even though there was no point in doing so.

As we know, our country is running in this so called patriarchal system, where men are kept as the head and act as the only decision maker of the family. Here, men do not like successful women. Sandhya even went to talk to her father-in-law about his drinking habit but as we know son is a son, even when he does any mistake. Despite of his son’s weakness he blamed Sandhya saying, ”You did not serve your husband well and I do not want to interfere in your marital issues” because they stayed away from Laxman’s parents.

On the other hand, being a well educated and well informed wife she should have seeked for help by calling the police or sending him to rehabilitation centre for treatment. This was a kind of weakness from an educated person’s side, sitting back being victimized again and again, not being able to refrain from it, due to societal and familial pressure. On the other hand, there was a deep love, care, emotion and a connection which they built from a very small age.

After all those physical and psychological trauma she had been through, she finally decided to leave Laxman. Being his wife and for the respect of their family, she did not expose him in the society. She couldn’t treat him because she thought he had a untreatable complexes, as every single time she tried to help, she would end up getting beaten again. Finally, she went to live with her parents thinking that Laxman would stop drinking alcohol and realize Sandhya and children were more important than alcohol.

Change begins with you

Nisha Adhikari

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Life is challenging at every step for all. But especially for the girls starting from her birth to the end of her life. Stigmatized society, our traditions, cultures has been passed from our ancestors to us and if not stopped then some social ills alongside good ones will continue to pass on our coming generations too and it may remain deep rooted. I being an educated girl knowing all the physiological things i.e. menstruation, pregnancy etc. that we go through but also I have social or mental impression that we cannot visit the religious places, worship the gods, and go to the kitchen during my menstruation.

I can take the example of the government school of my time without the adequate infrastructure, no separate toilets for girls and boys. Having the feeling of shame and the awkwardness whenever I entered the toilet and the bunch of people at the corner to make the assumption about my menstrual day or other such related things. On another side, there were some male teachers in the act of teaching me were actually harassing me sexually. But in both cases knowing that it’s against the well-being, my dignity and the human right pity me for not being courageous enough to raise a single voice against them but accept it as the reality of the girl’s life.

I don’t know why women hesitate to share the things that needs to be shared, why they don’t think themselves equal to men, accept violence as their fate and why they try to hide it instead. Whether it’s because of their own coward nature or if they are economically dependent on male for everything or that’s what have been continuously being followed by women from the very early days or if they think themselves physically weak.

Whatever may be the form of gender based violence physical, mental or sexual it is just the way of ensuring women’s inferior position in the society and even significantly limit the inequality of men and women by themselves. The world has entered into the new millennium but from the dawn of civilization till date, women of the patriarchal society continues to be suppressed and ill-treated. She is weak, dependent, exploited and faces gender discrimination at every sphere of life. Not only the women but also the people of LGBTI community are going under the same problem. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rate than the heterosexuals.

Knowing all these forms of violence, as a community we rarely talk about how sexual violence affects us or what our community’s need are when it comes to preventing sexual assault and supporting and caring for the survivors of different form of violence on the basis of gender. So before reaching out to the policies and plans, first of all the victimized ones should have the mental impression that they are not weak and inferior, they should be treated equally as other, given equal respect, opportunity and love and should be brave and courageous enough to raise voice against any form of violence. Working with youth is also a best bet for the fastened sustained progress on preventing and eradicating gender based violence. Awareness raising and community mobilization through mass media is also another important component of effective prevention strategy.

I’m Fine!!

Sajira Shrestha

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She came with some bruises in her face, waved me a hello with a smile in her face. Looking at her, I asked, ‘What happened?’ She just replied, ‘I’m fine.’

She is a 30 year old Bachelor graduate living in my neighborhood. She is a married woman with a child. Her husband is a 35 year old business man. Everybody in my neighborhood used to hear screams and cries from her home but nobody knew why.

Gender based violence has been prevailing in our society since ancient times. It has been a culture to some extent. Though the victims maybe both men and women, it is especially inflicted by men on women. According to UNFPA, 27% of women had experienced physical violence and 61% of women who had experienced violence never told anyone about it. Domestic violence, marital rape, dowry- related violence, child marriage, chhaupadi, trafficking of women and girls are common gender based violence in Nepal.

Though we are now in 21st century, most of the girls are still scared to talk about the violence they suffer from. Their mentality is developed in such a way that they think it is okay to be tortured by men. They are limited to house-hold works only. Our patriarchal society has made us believe that men are superior to women and it is duty of women to serve them.

Even an educated women are limited to house rather than doing the jobs they prefer to do and they don’t complain. In the country where the female population is higher than that of male, the condition of female is unsatisfactory. Only a very few women are getting the opportunities to come forward in development and nation building activities.

Whatever the question used to be about the bruises on her face, about the screams and cries at night. She always used to reply, ”I’m Fine!”