Mother says daughter committed suicide after ‘being shamed over menses’

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An Indian man looks on as he walks along a wall painting about female menstruation at the school for underprivileged children, Parijat Academy, on the Menstrual Hygiene Day in Guwahati on May 28, 2019. Photo by Getty Images

A message written on a sanitary napkin asking to stop blaming a victim for a molestation or rape during a Sanitary napkin protest in Kolkata, India.[Photo by Getty Images]
The mother of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Kenya says her child committed suicide after being shamed in class for having her menses and staining her uniform.

The mother told reporters that the girl daughter hanged herself.

The girl’s mother said a teacher had called her “dirty” for soiling her uniform and ordered her to leave the class in Kabiangek, west of the capital Nairobi, last Friday.

“She had nothing to use as a pad. When the blood stained her clothes, she was told to leave the classroom and stand outside,” the mother was quoted as saying in Kenyan media.

She said her daughter came home and told her mother what had happened. Later, after returning home from fetching water, she found her daughter dead.

Her parents reported the matter to the police but became frustrated by an apparent lack of action, the Daily Nation reported.

The couple, along with other parents, staged a protest outside the school on Tuesday. Police moved in and made five arrests when the demonstrators blocked a road and pulled down the school gate, reports said. The school has since been closed.

Kenya passed a law in 2017 to provide free sanitary towels for schoolgirls.

However, a parliamentary committee is currently investigating why the programme is yet to be rolled out across all schools.

In Kenya, like other countries, many girls cannot afford sanitary products such as pads and tampons.

A UN report in 2014 said that one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa missed school during their period.

Some girls reportedly lose 20% of their education for this reason, making them more likely to drop out of school altogether, the report said.

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