Kenyan Teenager Takes Own Life After Being Called ‘Dirty’ During her Feminine Cycle

On September 6, in Bomet County, Kenya, Jackline Chepngeno, 14, was reportedly kicked out of her high school classroom because her first period came unexpectedly.

When the blood stained her clothes, Chepngeno was told to stand outside classroom due to bleeding through her uniform. Allegedly, the teacher period-shamed Chepngeno, calling her “dirty.”

Chepngeno then walked home after school and told her mother, Beatrice Koech, what occurred. Chepengeno took her own life later that day.

Buzzfeed reported that she was taken to a nearby emergency room.

“She had nothing to use as a pad. When the blood stained her clothes, she was told to leave the classroom and stand outside,” Koech said in a report by the Huffington Post. According to Koech, many girls in Kenya stay home during menstruation because they cannot afford feminine products, products they need to avoid humiliation.

News of Chepngeno’s death spread on social media prompting Kenyans, and many others around the world, to discuss the grave consequences of menstruation shaming.

Hon. Esther M Passaris: “Together with fellow Women MPs, we’ve laid siege at the Ministry of Education in protest of the 14 year old girl who committed suicide after a female teacher publicly ridiculed her for soiling her clothes with her periods. #EndPeriodShame.” (@EstherPassaris)

Marina T’Mar Bailey: “The correct way to deal with a child who gets her period in your class is to give her a pad (I keep some in my class that I buy myself – shops often have certain brands for a very low cost – if I run out I just give them one of my own that I keep for emergencies), let her go to the bathroom and put it on, clean the floor (I keep bleach in my class that I buy myself) and let the girl go to the Swap Shop and get another dress. … I teach Grade 5.” (@TMarOfVulcan)

Many girls have experienced bleeding through their clothing during school, for a variety of reasons. Throughout the United States, students are lucky enough to have a school nurse, a friend, or athletic trainer. At Mount Saint Dominic Academy, we are lucky to have the opportunity to have extra skirts in the basement and a school nurse who provides feminine essentials. No one would ever be sent out of the classroom and classified as “dirty,” like in Kenya.

There should never be a time that anyone, anywhere commits suicide because of period-shaming.

 

If you are having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

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