Archive | February 2017

Blogger Series #9: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign unmarried women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

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Once at a party when I was in school me and my friends were playing a drinking game ‘never have I ever’. One of the guys said ‘Never have I ever masturbated’ he sneered it at the girls. Every single dude sitting there chugged a shot and so did I because as a normal 17 year old I of course have and quite enjoyed masturbating. To my shock my other girlfriends just sat there and stared at each other. I felt betrayed & bemused. I could not fathom the fact that none of them had masturbated before or maybe that none of them would admit to doing so in public. To be honest it pissed me off because I felt like I was being ostracised and singled out as overly sexual – I gaffed “none of you have ever touched yourself before?”. I was met with a staunch & collective ‘nope”.  
I think that experience was important because I knew that women have desires as everyone else. I never questioned if I was ‘normal’ or not. However that day taught me that my school friends wouldn’t judge me nonetheless they would not be open to expressing sexual desires the way I was. I had to find a community of women who were like me & through Health Over Stigma I finally have.

Blogger Series #8: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign unmarried women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

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When parents have two apartments in Delhi, one’s our residence and the other one is vacant. My residence is never empty, so I decided to take my boyfriend to the other apartment for some privacy. Better than going to some shady hotel right? Wrong. After a couple of visits the RWA caught us, threatened to inform my parents and call the police. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong, after all it was my house and the two of us weren’t bothering anybody. How is it anyone’s business to snoop and find out what goes behind four walls? But the society doesn’t share the same opinion as me. After all two people holding hands are more dangerous than actual criminals right?

Blogger Series #7: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign unmarried women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

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“I visited a gynaec when my period was late even though I’d been careful and used protection. I used a pregnancy test which was negative but I was scared and paranoid and I just wanted to double check. I scheduled an appointment randomly at a clinic nearby as I didn’t have any recommendations from anyone. Unfortunately for me it was an elderly doctor who was extremely rude, condescending and intrusive. She started asking me personal questions such as whether I was married, if not, how long have I been with my boyfriend, how many times we’ve had sex unprotected (he’s the only one I’ve slept with in my whole life and the same with him), whether my parents know. I was visibly squirming as I asked her why she was asking me all this. She ignored me, and went on to tell me that if I have sex I should be prepared to get pregnant and get STDs (even though I’m monogamous and so is he) and that not having sex is the only ‘solution’ to avoiding doubt. She started asking me when I plan to marry him and whether my parents should be told about this. I still didn’t get an answer as to why I hadn’t got my period on top of being so stressed. When I asked her to do her job and tell me what the reason for my delayed period could be OTHER than possible pregnancy she said she could not help me further.

It was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had with a doctor my whole life. I went for a second opinion to another doctor at a different hospital who was much younger, but faced the same. She was more interested in the fact that I’m not married and sexually active than in prescribing me the meds necessary for inducing my period, since it was established that I wasn’t pregnant. I finally lost my temper and contacted the hospital feedback team and informed them the doctor had no business behaving this way to a patient who needs care, and that she had better do her job and not judge. After a lot of apologies from their marketing team, I finally met a gynaec whom it was a pleasure interacting with. She allayed my fears and concerns and prescribed a pill to me that would regulate my period and act as protection in addition to condoms. I think doctors need to realize it’s not their place to bring in their personal biases on to the table when interacting with us. Being sexually active outside of marriage is not a crime and it’s high time this mentality was done away with.”

 

Blogger Series #6: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign unmarried women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

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This happened a year back. My friend was seeing this guy who was a pilot and was 23. It got physical quite soon. They would have sex every weekend at the guy’s place because he lived alone. One day, as it happened, she got pregnant and was super nervous. She called me up and we decided to go to the gynae. This particular one happened to be very reputed and was in Gurgaon far from the place where she herself lived (in Delhi). She didn’t wanna come across anyone she knew. When we told him what we wanted, he was totally taken aback. He asked our age proof so we gave him our IDs. I didn’t and still don’t understand why he refused to treat her even though she was an adult (19 in fact). He just gave another Doctor’s number and gave a stupid excuse that he already has a lot of appointments. It wasn’t true because we asked his assistant before hand if he could conduct a suction abortion and she said that he was free.  It appals me how someone would deny us treatment just because of their own bias. It’s their duty which they need to fulfil, and our right to demand help if so we seek.

 

Blogger Series #5: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign unmarried women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

As this story shows us we have internalized the stigma that it is all around us, it’s time we recognize it & call it out!

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One day, I was out at a chemist and there were so many people buying medicines so I decided to wait aside for a minute and let the hustle and bustle reduce. What I saw next was something I never encountered before. Two different women. One bought a few medicines and a cough syrup (I think). The chemist stacked everything and put in a transparent polythene. The next woman buys a packet of sanitary napkins and she pays for it, grabs the packet and is about to leave when the shopkeeper stops her. He bends down to find something below the counter, takes out a black polythene and asks her to put the packet of sanitary napkins in the black bag. Why!? The women was confident/comfortable enough to carry “pads” without having the need to cover it like its a taboo. But one interruption by a man (read society) just forces her confidence to drop to zero. Why is a there a need to hide things that shouldn’t be a big deal to humans? Why do women have to lower down their voice before talking about periods or asking for pads in a chemist shop? We’ve done nothing wrong. This isn’t a punishment. This is natural and if we’re ready to accepted it, why won’t others? I had read these kinds of incidents before but watching it with my own eyes made me question (backward) society little more than usual.

Blogger Series #4: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

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So this happened in one of the colleges of Delhi university about a  month ago. What really happened did put a black mark on an all girls institution like this. There was a case of molestation that took place, the victim was a first year student had just entered college. She belonged to a humble background and was having money issues at home. Therefore she used to come to college everyday with this aged man who worked with the college bank. He was in his early fifties, so one fine day, both of them were coming to college and he tried to brush his fingers against her breasts, she ignored it thinking it was a mistake but this man did the same thing, the very next day. She took a stand and the moment she reached college she told her best friend, she in return took her to the principal. The principal there and then called the police and that man was taken to the jail. All this took place and we thought that the case was closed but the bank people gave the guy bail and pressurised her to take back the FIR. What’s worse is that the girl was shamed all across the college, teachers started saying “why did the girl go with that man? what was the need?” Nobody thought of her mental state or her family issues or why she was dependent on that man. Everybody were hell bent on defining her character, slut-shaming her. It’s just sad to see that even in studying in one of the best universities this is still the situation. With the help of haiyya we just hope to cut down on the sexual stigma, slut shaming, body-shaming and all sorts of shaming a woman goes through. Because she is more than this and definitely more than what you think she is.

Blogger Series #3: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

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I am 18. And this was the first time I went to the gynaecologist. My male best friend slept with his girlfriend this Valentine’s Day. They had unprotected sex and the girl was very shy to go buy an emergency contraceptive just in case. I went with my bestie to the clinic. The gynaecologist was super nice though she was surprised to learn that people at a young age do have sex. She handed my an i-pill and just then the door opened and an older lady walked in. She heard our conversation and kept glaring at me. The gynae asked her to leave as she was busy with me and hadn’t called out for the next patient to come in (the older lady was a patient). When I started to leave, the older lady told me that I should get myself checked so that I don’t spread my ‘disease’ around, and that ‘you could never trust young girls these days’. My bestie gave a tort in reply, “I think it’s your mental disease you should be worried about. We are perfectly normal.” It was kinda cool.