What It’s Like Having A Period When You Live On The Streets

What It’s Like Having A Period When You Live On The Streets

“You just feel disgusting and there’s nothing you can do.”
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There are moments in life when you hear or read about something that makes you appreciate the things you usually take for granted, like having access to a bathroom and enough money to buy menstrual products every month.

I’ve admittedly never even thought about what I would do without tampons or sanitary pads because I’ve always been able to afford them, but I know it would be extremely hard and embarrassing if I wasn’t.

The sad truth though, is there are thousands of homeless women who find themselves in the devastating situation in which they have to choose between buying something to eat or purchasing sanitary pads each month. Twenty-one-year-old Zoe, who lives in a housing center in London, is one of those women.

“When I was on the streets, I actually found it easier to get food or toothbrushes than stuff for my periods. There was nowhere to find that stuff and I was obviously too embarrassed to ask strangers for it.”

Another woman, Jill, a homeless woman in her late 20s, explains how challenging menstruation was when she first became homeless.

“I used to just get loads of tissues from public loos, instead of pads, but it’s a mess. And you’ve got no clean underwear. You feel dirty anyway, don’t you. But you just feel disgusting and there’s nothing you can do.”

While most homeless shelters receive government funding to provide condoms and certain medication to distribute to the less fortunate, they don’t receive any financial assistance to provide sanitary products.

The consequences of not having necessary sanitary products are far more serious than just stained underwear. Women without access to a clean bathroom or laundry facilities risk their health by using unhygienic rags or other pieces of old fabric as pads. Moreover, they feel helpless, isolated and ashamed, leaving many resorting to theft as a means of having a dignified period.

It’s a largely ignored issue that’s sparked petitions and crowdfunding aimed at giving women living on the street access to menstrual products free of charge. One such campaign is The Homeless Period, a movement that offers information on how to help through donations to your local shelter, and signing a petition asking for government funding of sanitary products. To draw attention to the issue, the group launched a video last year made up of a montage of cardboard boxes with messages scrawled across them aimed at highlighting the struggle menstruating women on the streets face every month.

There are currently an estimated 200,000 women braving the streets each night in the US alone.

Buying tampons or pads simply cannot be a privilege reserved for women who can afford it. With a box of tampons easily setting us back $6 or more, it’s not hard to see how it becomes a luxury product for a lot of people, especially considering the disposable nature of it.

This makes the fact sanitary products are t axed in most countries seem all the more ridiculous. Paying an extra five to 10 per cent for a product that’s an annoying necessity for women – not a product we buy for pleasure – is unfair and sexist. Regardless of tampons being taxed or not, women who can’t even afford food most days can’t be expected to spend money on tampons.

It’s another reason we need to lift the taboo of talking about women’s periods. We’ve been made to feel ashamed about one of our body’s most natural, basic functions for decades, so much so, that eve n the idea of displaying a box of tampons on our desk at work seems crazy.

The women who suffer most while we continue to punish women for menstruating with inaccessible resources and hushed voices, are the ones who don’t have a voice. Homeless women are trying their best not to lose the one thing that shouldn’t require money, their dignity. Isn’t that something worth fighting for?


This story originally appeared on SHE'SAID', a global women's lifestyle website, and was written by Nadine Dilong .

Nadine is a beauty writer who's always on the hunt for the perfect nude lipstick and the best Instagram filter. She has a weakness for handbags and never says no to a cup of strong coffee.

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I Write Down My Dick Appointments And You Should Too

You need to be able to recall every sexual moment in case anything goes wrong

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If you are in college, especially if you are a lady, then you probably have an agenda/planner. Most girls spend over $30 for the massive planners, myself being one of those girls, that have the cute stickers, decorative pages, and huge spaces for you to write out all the nights you are "going to do homework."

Inside of my planner you will find color-coded assignments, the occasional stickers placed beside my favorite peoples birthday, and my most recent dick appointments.

Wait, what?

Yes, you read that correctly—I write in my planner every time I have sex. Even if it was just oral, it is written down.

I live at home, so my parents are liable to walk into my room at any time. I normally leave my planner out and about without fear of it being opened. WHAT, WHY? Because who would want to read about when I have my next Pharmacology exam (I don't even want to know when my next one is). It is so easy to keep my other life a secret because it is all written down in a pineapple planner, and unless my parents are Nancy Drew... then they should have no need in digging through that G-Rated planner.

I do not write personal information down to be able to recall my body count, brag about my hookups, or to have a rebellious lifestyle behind my parents back. Instead, I am more worried about an unwanted pregnancy or catching an STD. The reason why each person, I am sexually active with, is written down is because I want to be able to look back on the name & time frame and ask:

1. Where did I get this odd burning sensation from?

2. Who da baby daddy?

Absolutely I use condoms, I cannot stress how important safe sex is—but shit happens. Condoms are not 100% with preventing pregnancy or STDs, so it is beneficial to be able to open a planner, see when the symptoms started happening, and be able to reach out to that person.

STDs are so common, and many of them are asymptomatic, meaning they do not even show any signs of symptoms. It is important to be tested regularly, due to this fact, and be able to have sex without fearing giving someone the itchy itchy, ya feel? But, in case it happens, wouldn't it be easier to find the source and only confront them instead of the other five people you slept with?

And pregnancy! I am so young, and power to the young single mothers out there, but I do not want to be one. Boys, if I ever end up carrying your child just know I will be coming for you—mama will be racking in the child support. Accidents happen, but your child should know who their father is, and also the guy should be aware of what happened. No mother should go through pregnancy alone, so be able to recall which guy is the father.

My planner is far from cute on the inside. It is full of names, and dates, yes to the boys that I slept with that are reading this, YOU ARE IN THERE. I write everyone down for my own safety. I would recommend any sexually active girl to start making notes of their hookups, and do not be ashamed of the number of names in the book—DO YOU, SIS! Be creative when writing them down, make up some kind of code & simply write it down on the calendar. You can be secretive or open like me and write: "DICK APPT @ _______," either way don't be ashamed, be proud of the initiative you are taking by wanting to be safe and healthy.

OMG, check these out

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