International Girls day, October 11th.
First and foremost, we must acknowledge that “girls” here, we define as cis-girls AND Trans-girls. Not every girl bleeds but elimination of discrimination against menstruation helps every girl.
To simply say we need to protect girls is an understatement. In this patriarchal system, where girls are individually and systematically oppressed in every sector of society from Gender-based violence, sexual harassment, unequal pay, low social value, domestic violence, violence specifically against trans-girls, menstrual discrimination and more, there is a critical need to not only protect our girls but to eliminate the very things they need protection from and empower to lift their voices and lives.
1. U.N. Report: 50,000 Women A Year Are Killed By Intimate Partners, Family Members. these figures are a gross underestimate due to the nature of data collection through self-reporting globally. (UNODC 2018)
2. This is mostly from Men – husbands, and family members participating in honor killings.
3. There is unfortunately little to no data on hate crimes for trans-women.
4. 12 Black trans women have been violently killed in USA in 2019 alone
5. Since January 2013, HRC has documented at least 128 transgender people who were victims of fatal violence; at least 110 were transgender people of color. Nearly nine in every 10 victims were transgender women and 45 percent of all domestic deaths occurred in the U.S. South. (HRC)
These numbers are real and this hate, violence is constructed and real against girls, and while not all girls menstruate, without eliminating discrimination against menstruation, the only physical indicator used as a proxy for “girls” and the idea of a “girls” as a gender construct, it is impossible to mitigate violence against girls. Without holding folks with power accountable like men and boys it will be impossible to achieve gender equity.
For girls that bleed, the first step is to provide dignity during menstruation, so that the very first distinction of their identity is not one full of shame, stigma, violence ( invisible and visible) but one full of power.