The Untouchables: Prevalence of Sexual Relationship during Menstrual Period
Nepali women are exposed to several restrictions and discrimination in the name of social norms and traditions in Nepal. Menstrual practice is one of such tradition, chaupadi being the manifestation of such restrictions in its most severe form. Following the menstrual tradition, women are forbidden from making physical contact with their family members, entering house and touching food materials. However, the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) data, reveals high prevalence of sexual relationship during the menstrual period. While menstrual norms forces women to be away from family members and house, data shows women are into sexual relationship during their menstrual period. Prevalence of sexual relationship during period challenges superstitious belief existing in the society, a belief that living normal life in a shared shelter with their family during their monthly cycle will infuriate the God and bring misfortune to the entire family. At the same time, sexual relationship during menstruation is a human right issue that needs to be discussed. The paper will explore the relationship between untouchable menstruating women and existence of sexual relationship during their period on the other side. For this, the paper will be drawn largely from NDHS data and narratives of Hindu Scriptures.
Key words: Untouchable, Menstruation, Sexual relationship, religion