Many women have started sharing their first period experience on Facebook with the hashtag Arppo Arthavam.

Arppo Arthavam Kerala campaign against menstruation untouchability gains momentum
news Society Friday, November 23, 2018 - 16:40

The discussion surrounding menstruation has occupied debate spaces like never before since the Supreme Court verdict came out allowing women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala shrine.

The death of 12-year old girl Vijaya, who was sent out to sleep in a thatched barn behind her house during her first period even as a cyclone raged on, also triggers such debates and pro-period campaigns.

Lately a new campaign named Arppo Arthavam (or Hail menstruation) to debunk myths about menstruation has been launched. Many women have started sharing their first period experience on Facebook with the hashtag Arppo Arthavam. Some of them are disheartening experiences of how insensitively they were treated by their parents, even by their mothers, during the menstruating days and how their first period was an unpleasant news to their families.

An event with the same name – Arppo Arthavam – will be held on Sunday, November 25, at Vanchi Square in Ernakulam. It has the motto ‘Arthava ayitham thulayatte’ (Let menstruation untouchability be eliminated).

The event, for which a Facebook page has been created, is also promoting the message Thottukoodam – we can be friends through touching. The organisers are a group of women and the idea has already gained widespread support.

“In any place, menstruation has been used as a tool to isolate women. The ostracising in the name of untouchability is against the Constitution, untouchability is banned under article 17. India is a country has signed the covenant against menstruation untouchability. If mainstream society ostracises menstruation, we are embracing it and hence we named it hail period,” says advocate PK Maya Krishnan, a practicing lawyer at the Kerala High Court.

The response received for the idea has been overwhelming. The organisers are planning the Sunday event as a Kodiyettam (a curtain raiser) and will take forward the campaign as a movement. “We plan to take it to the next level in the form of awareness campaigns among students and women across various classes. It was after the Sabarimala verdict that the masks of the so-called elite Keralalites have fallen,” Maya adds.

Dalit activist Mrudala Devi Bhavani, orators Sunil P Ilayidom, Sreechithran MJ and Tamil folk singer Kovan, among others, will speak at the event. The event will be a platform for all those who would like to share their ideas. The lawyers who are part of Right to Bleed have also put forward their support for this campaign.

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