This weekend, Wings of Hope Rescue Home (WHRH) gave us an opportunity to partner in menstrual hygiene management with girls who conceived following rape by close relatives.
Located in Kingoris, Kasaraini Constituency, Nairobi; WHRH provides the girls with a loving home, counseling, education, and a chance to reach their (girls’) destiny. It was founded, and is run, by Ms Luibi Muteshi, a nurse; her spouse, Pastor Irwin Mukonyole; and, Abby Campbell, a graduate USIU student from USA studying how to counsel trauma victims from a biblical perspective.
Luibi’s first reaction was very sincere, “NO, NO, NO, we cannot subject the girls to experience associated with reusables sanitary products. Reusables remind me of our past when our reusables were smelly as we didn’t have soap for washing them. They were pieces of cloth that would become very stiff when dried after washing. And, they would fall off our underwear.”
This reaction quickly changed when she saw that the option we are providing is stretchy and luxurious reusable sanitary pads. She was impressed by our reason for partnering with the girls – for the girls to be role model in responsible menstruation management.
Luibi gathered the girls and, after we distributed reusable pads to all of them, she shepherded the girls into thinking of where sanitary pads go after use.
In response, the girls unanimously agreed to use the reusable pads. Importantly, the girls accepted the difficult responsibility of educating many others about long-term benefits of using reusable products in menstrual management.
One of the girls shared with us her interesting observation: “Jane (not their real name) and I get our period on same days, this was not the case when Jane and I started staying together”.
While imagining how physically painful the rape may have been for them, we learned that women’s genitals might have adapted to react to possible sexual violence in their environment, lubricating to protect delicate tissues from injury. We also learned that hormonal release, due to fear or anger, could produce reflex ovulation (and hence pregnancy).