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Dear Zoomlion, What should we do with our pads?

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Let me begin by saying, I HATE periods. Not the punctuation mark, I mean the monthly Aunt Flo, Crimson Tide, Visitor, Bisquit…I am referring to menstruation, which plagues girls and women between the ages of 9 and 60 (depending on whenever menarche and menopause strike). On account of my having a particularly heavy flow and spending years with severe cramping, periods have NEVER been merely an inconvenience for me. The kicker? I am not alone.

The Bible tells us, that menstruating women were not permitted to perform any household chores, wives could not cook for their husbands, and indeed, sex was out of the question. I may be wrong, but all women had in days of old, were under cloths/rags, which would be washed, dried and reused. Mary Kenner, in the 1950s invented a belt for sanitary napkins. This belt would hold the cloths and rags women used during their menses, and helped prevent leaks. I make a point of mentioning Ms Kenner because, her invention was revolutionary and also, she was an African American. History is not kind to women inventors and revolutionaries, let alone those who are melanin coated.

The Sanitary belt.
Credit: http://www.helloflow.org

At some point in history, women were saved the trouble of washing sanitary napkins, much like with diapers, with the advent of disposable napkins, which, thankfully worked perfectly with the sanitary belt which Mary Kenner had updated to include a moisture-proof linen pocket. I won’t bore you further with more period history but over the years, we ended up with adhesive pads, tampons, period panties, and the menstrual cup. All of these products make periods more bearable for women but what should be noted is that the most common product used by women in managing their monthly flow, is the sanitary pad. And the way of disposing it? Securely folded and stuffed in the individual plastic wrappers they come in, and dumped in a bathroom waste bin. Where does the trash from the bathroom bin go? Into whatever larger receptacle awaits outside, and into the garbage truck that comes to collect trash every week.

At least that’s how it’s been done in my house for years, and in every other house I’ve visited. In my secondary school, we had a large pit in the girls’ block that we would dump our bathroom waste into and once a week, we would set the waste on fire. The con? Vultures and crows often got into the pit before incineration day and we would return to the block on many an afternoon to find the pads scattered about the yard. We hate the sight of our own clotted blood even when it’s fresh in our pads, imagine the disgust on our faces when forced to pick up stale, and now shredded napkins belonging to Lord knows whom.

No, the easiest thing to do, and unless I am mistaken, what’s done universally, is to wrap them tight, drop in a preferably lined bin, and send off to a disposal site.

Do not, please DO NOT flush your tampons and pads down the toilet. If you’re lucky enough to not have it clog your toilet, it sure as heck will block the chambers leading to your septic tank and God save you, and your plumber from the stinky and frankly unsanitary job of dislodging all that poop.

What has my proverbial panties in a bunch now though? Well a doctor buddy of mine, Dr Kofi Effah shared an article from myjoyonline with me. Full disclosure, I used to work with myjoyonline, which is why I was surprised at the Headline, “Zoomlion hates it when you drop used sanitary pads into waste bins“. A look at the byline showed the story was originally posted on Adomonline, a sister media channel. However, there’s two things I want to make note of from the article.

First of all, that “The Central Regional Manager of waste management company, Zoomlion, Samuel Edu, is cautioning the public to stop the disposal of used sanitary pads into Zoomlion waste bins in both residential and public places.” This is because they pose a health risk to sanitation workers. To be fair, he also “cautioned residents of Assin Breku to desist from disposal of faeces, used pad and other waste materials which are likely to put the health of Zoomlion workers in risk”.

I am all for warning people not to dispose of faeces in waste bins. That’s awesome advice, necessary even, considering that even in 2018, majority of Ghanaian homes, some even within Accra, do NOT have toilets. And have you tried using a public toilet? Even the KVIPs? where you are charged to not only use the loo, but have to pay for toilet paper at the entrance? There’s always that one person holding the toilet paper, who counts the squares of paper they hand to you. I can’t say that I can blame people, usually in our market areas who opt to just poop into plastic bags and toss em.

What concerns me is, the fact that sanitary pads have been included in this mix. Was the Regional Manager misquoted? Was he misinformed? Are sanitary pads truly not supposed to be dumped into waste bins?

Which brings me to observation number two, which Dr Effah also noted.

The article does not state what women are supposed to DO with the used pads. If Mr Edu gave an alternative, it certainly was not communicated in the article and this leaves me baffled.

I have never heard of Western Countries warning their women to avoid putting pads in waste bins, and I cannot fathom any other method of disposal besides incineration. With that being said, I have come up with two options since Zoomlion seems to be so deeply concerned for their workers’ health; one of which seems more pragmatic, as it will disrupt our lives less:

  1. Every household build an incinerator and dump used pads in it for burning.
    Pro: Zoomlion workers do not have to bring their gloved hands into contact with them
    Con: Extra expense to residences and businesses, especially considering that majority of homes do NOT even have the means to install flushing toilets and septic tanks let alone an incinerator.
  2. Zoomlion provide the households they serve with paper-lined “bio waste” bins which will be collected and transported straight to a central disposal facility where they would be incinerated.
    Pro: Zoomlion workers do not have to bring their gloved hands into contact with them
    Con: Zoomlion bears the cost of providing the paper-lined bins, as well as collection, transportation, and incineration of the waste.

An even bigger question is, why does Zoomlion even have its workers touching the refuse in the first place? If waste is going into bins, and trash collection is regular, one would imagine it’s simply a case of the bin being lifted either manually, or mechanically, into a garbage truck, driven to a landfill, and dumped. So perhaps, instead of your regional manager telling women to stop placing their used sanitary napkins into the bin, he should ensure that the bins are emptied regularly, thus reducing the heaping of refuse which would force workers to have to physically scoop waste into the garbage trucks.

Otherwise, I cannot fathom why such an unconscionable statement should be made, let alone printed with such a questionable headline, in what is a major news publication.

 

Got any thoughts about this article? Please sound off in the comments below.

 

 

Mob Mentality: It Can Lead to Fail

Time: 3am
Date: 31st March, 2011
Location: Mensah Sarbah Hall Annex B, University of Ghana

Event: Apprehend a female thief and show her what’s what.

Thursday had me busy at work. I ignored the internet and there’s no radio in my office so I missed the debates. The evening saw me having the time of my life at the Labadi Beach Hotel with my family and I got home too late to bother with anything running the gossip rounds.  Fast forward to Friday, April first and my shock at reading a tweet by Nii Ayertey about Amina and how she could have been his sister.  I thought, “what’s going on now?” and followed the link to this CitiFm story.  And then I prayed it was some sick April Fool’s Joke.

At about 3am on March 31st, some male students of Mensah Sarbah Hall of the University of Ghana through whatever means, decided “to catch a thief“. Unfortunately, there is NO correlation between these kids and the characters in the movie/book.  No one is quite sure how they caught this girl or how they got a confession out of her. We do know though that instead of handing her over to the police, they chose to beat her up. The girl in the video clearly has a black eye and unless she did that to herself trying to escape (silly excuse really) I call these boys women beaters. I do not condone mob action and always insist on turning over suspects to the police and for good reason. You never quite know who the mob has apprehended, and you sure as heck don’t have anyone in a mob listening to reason.

I do not know at what point in time the boys chose to strip her naked. Parading her in the Hall, they did more than that.  They tore her clothes off of her, exposing her bra and panties.  Even those were not spared however, despite her pleas for mercy. Bottom line, they exposed her nether regions and proceeded to taunt her, while taking photos of her private parts and even going as far as to insert their fingers into her vajayjay.

University authorities are looking into this matter but I do not have any confidence in my Alma Mater. For years, students have been parading alleged thieves naked through the streets of campus (from Commonwealth Hall to the Main gate) in order to pond them.  And the university has always turned a blind eye to the happenings on. Debates yesterday on facebook had people comparing what happened to this girl to the pondings that were delivered to the boys who stole in the past.  Well let me say this, when you stole from Commonwealth or any Hall in the past, you had a choice.  Either you went to the shrine at La or were handed over to University Authorities or you had an option of being marched naked through the streets of campus with the culmination of a “decent” bath in the filthy pond at the main gate.

Amina was not given any of those choices. These boys tore, (shredded, call it what you will ) her clothes from her body and then did something that has never before been done, even by those troublesome Vandals. They crossed that fine line that exists in mob mentality where the role of criminal and victim are turned around.  See, once Amina was down on the floor clutching her tattered bra to her chest and begging the boys not to go any farther, she ceased to be a thief in my eyes.  She became a sexual assault victim, pleading with her attackers to have mercy on her.  She became a woman begging a gang of men not to violate her person. 

I don’t know how many of you have ever been in such a situation before (I certainly hope you haven’t) but I doubt there is anything more damaging than having a gang of men or women (or even a single person) out to sexually molest you and you laying in a defenseless heap with nothing but your tears to protect you.

I’m still trying to reconcile what they did and simply cannot find a single rhyme or reason. Who in their right mind captures a thief in their home and then decides “Let’s see what they look like under those clothes”.  Who in their right mind chooses to get their Johnses off when they find a burglar in their home.  “Oh thanks for comming to rob me.  I’d like to have the sex now” I do not think that I have ever been more ashamed to have been a student of the University of Ghana and I am glad now that I did not follow my father’s footsteps and join Sarbah Hall.  He’s certainly upset about it.

I’m against sexual abuse of any person (be they male or female, child or adult) or animal and can only describe what I feel right now as empathy.  I wept when I saw the video (couldn’t finish watching it) and wish now that I hadn’t been linked to it. If I cannot condone lynching a person for some crime, then how on earth can I condone sexually abusing them? I keep thinking what if this had been a case of mistaken identity? Just imagine for a second, for those of you who want to justify what happened to her, that these kids had made a mistake.  What if they’d grabbed the wrong person and abused them in such a manner?  What if your sister had been the one they’d grabbed in their frenzy? It shames me to have people I respect and admire tell me she deserved what she got and that this time she’ll learn her lesson.  It shames me to hear people I expect to do something ask me if I knew this girl and demand to know “why are you being so emotional about this?”  

No one cares!!!  A clear case of human rights violation and no one cares!!! Someone had the guts to say on facebook that if it had been a man, we wouldn’t be making so much noise about it. He said to “get it right.  It’s human rights not women’s rights” and I set him straight. We’ve been complaining for years about mob action.  Been speaking out forever about the marches to the uni pond. Clearly that was championing human rights and that was when it was even only men being abused. I have never heard of a case when a male thief was being paraded naked in the streets and the girls went over to stroke his manhood.  It’s plain disgusting to think of if you ask me.
The reason this person seems to think the world champions women’s rights is simply this.  Women and Children have always been weaker and therefore more defenceless.  Of course when you hear stories about human rights violation, they’re going to be about women being raped or molested and children being treated the same or worse.  And men, when they are abused, shut up about it.  Show me one case where a man was abused sexually and people threw a party for his attackers. 
This guy made a case of “women rape men and women beat men”.  PLEASE!!! It’s anatomically IMPOSSIBLE for a woman to rape a man unless she chooses to sodomise him and if you showed me such a case, I’d be first to condemn it. If it had been girls fingering Amina, I would still be talking about it.  If it had been boys sodomising a man or woman, I would be talking about it.  If it had been boys groping a male thief, I’d STILL be talking about it.  SEXUAL ABUSE is wrong and any person that seeks to justify and rationalise it away and promotes it is a big fat filthy IDIOT and should experience it for themself.

I want to see Amina fight for her justice now.  The state can do whatever they want concerning the theft but now the state HAS to round up the students responsible and deal with them.  Amina deserves justice.  She has become one of the many victims of sexual abuse and if it’s one thing that I know, Victims Never Forget. She didn’t ask for it.  This is not her fault and instead of men and women applauding these depraved students for their actions, I would like for there to be a united voice, calling for Justice, calling for heads to roll.  The university needs to be strict when they apprehend these students and the State should be well prepared to fight this to the end.  

I also hope that we will find a way to talk to our students.  We need to get it into people’s thick skulls, right from childhood, that sex is not a tool for punishment. 

Another thing that worried me was the way in which the video went viral.  I know some people meant well and wanted the world to see the depravity of man but did anyone think for a second that it would be adding more insult to this girl’s injury?  I sat down to think and I wondered, would I be okay with it, if my rape was taped and spread over the internet? Would you be fine if your friend, sibling, mother was attacked and the video making its rounds to every cellphone and computer, not only in your country but going as far as to hit the internet, where the entire world can see? So I asked the person who uploaded the video to delete it.  Did he? When I checked at 3pm yesterday, he hadn’t done that.  Now, his facebook profile has been deleted. Thank God for facebook crawler bots and the report violation button 🙂

No matter how you look at it, there is no “justice” in what was done to Amina. This is a human being (forget her crime) who was sexually abused by a gang and she’s never going to get over it.  I insist that we do not simply sweep this under a rug.  I’ll keep talking about it and demand that we hear something tangible from the Ghanaian government and the University authorities.  I demand that something be done to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. You can be sure that I’ll be writing more about this, that I’ll continue to make a nuisance of myself until someone in authority says something. And it had better not be along the lines of  “It is not nice and especially when it involves students who are supposed to know better…” and then nothing is done. We have a judiciary and laws have been put in place to handle these things.  Now I want to see these laws and their enforcers DO THEIR DAMN JOB!!

My heart goes out to Amina.  No matter what her crime was, she definitely did not deserve such a punishment and I pray that true justice is served.

~Daixy~

Related articles

Daixy on: Boobs, Vajayjays and Feet, in no particular order…..

picture source: http://fitnesslines.com

Through out history, in the various parts of the world, there have been several ideas on what women should look like. In most of africa, women are expected to be shapely.  Wide hips more or less guarantee a woman can bear a man’s 15 children and her bantu buttocks are fully expected to cradle a child on her back.  And the giant pendulous breasts?  Oh but certainly both child and husband can enjoy suckling at them 😉  Yes in the western world, thinner bodies are appreciated. An ideal that has led to severe psychological disorders in both male and females (although most often in females) like bulemia and anorexia nervosa. Good job Europe and America.  You’ve turned a female dilemma into a general issue 🙂

For over a thousand years, women in China had their feet routinely broken and bound, with the aim of giving them a wavy “lotus-like gait“.  Feet that are already too small (compared to mine), were shrunk down to fit in two inch shoes from as little as 4 years of age!! Why?  Well because the men felt the lotus gait was sexually stimulating.  How any man could bear to look at his wife’s unbound feet simply befuddles me.  I honestly doubt that they ever assisted with the constant nail trimmings and the massages the poor women had to endure to try and stave off the pain (which they had to endure for the rest of their lives).  

WARNING!!! If you are squeamish, please do not read any farther!!!
 

Of course, in most of Central Africa, some parts of Arabia and Asia, women were having their labia and clitorises lobbed off.  The reasons, well, people (of course they were male) thought the female genitals were ugly and dirty for one.  Chop them off and a woman would be better equipped to clean herself? Forget that for weeks, she would be afraid to attend to natures call; on account of the acidic nature of her urine would cause fresh reels of pain to course through her nether regions.  Gentlemen, imagine touching yourselves down there with hands that are covered in pepper or a hot liniment.  Think of lemon juice or salt in an open wound.  Why would you subject anyone to this kind of inhumane treatment?

Some (obviously mentally unsound persons) argued that women had no right to enjoy sex and thus insisted on removing the centre of pleasure. What did this lead to?  Frustrated husbands raping their wives, of course.  Well if you make a woman hate sex, why on earth then, would you expect her to WANT to give it up? Yes, these women will stay away from men as intended but did the oh so intelligent males of the species forget that they were in essence, cock blocking themselves? (This actually made me lol.  Amazing what stupidity we can eschew, n’est pas?)

What drew my ire most was one story I read (back in high school) where a frustrated husband; annoyed that he couldn’t get his overly-large african snausage through the tiny passage left by the village wanzam, decided to turn himself into a surgeon.  Without anesthesia, ignoring the basics of sterilization, he beat his wife senseless, cut her open and then proceeded to rape her.

Did anyone think about the degree of pain these poor women would go through during sex, let alone during child-birth, before instituting this atrocious practice?  No wonder many of them sought ways of abortion and rendering themselves barren. I doubt I could ever finish talking about this particular form of mutilation.  It sickens me to the core and there’s absolutely no way I would ever condone it. I’m glad it’s no longer in active practice.  Yes, I know it’s turned into a covert-op in our Northern regions but at least more and more people are aware of it and more women are standing up for themselves.

Women in Victorian England were expected to wear corsets. These tended to plump up the breasts while squeezing the spine into a most uncomfortable shape, cinching the waist into a thinner shape and allowing the hips to flare out.    This practice had it’s own negative effects.  Imagine having your internal organs pushed out of place, as seen in the picture above (corseted woman is on the left). People dealing with scoliosis would want to slap these idiots who willingly bend their spines out of shape!  I know I want to…. On the other end of the boob shape spectrum, Catholic nuns up until the 1930s were required to wear a linen breast binding under their garments in addition to their everyday vestments. Clergy claimed that this measure was designed to eliminate any potential distraction that the nuns’ breasts might cause.Yeah right!  I would far more prefer for wayward priests to go after the nuns than to turn to little children.  How a priest can preach against homosexuality and tout sodomy as an act of the devil, and then force little boys into that act…well that’s a rant for another post methinks.

Oh and let’s not forget the women who had to hide their breasts from men (like Joan of Arc so she would be allowed to play soldier).  Yes, it’s this topic that’s kept me awake since 11pm and will not allow me a moment of peace.  BREAST BINDING!!!  EUGH!!!!  You see, I happened to take a look at Nana Yaw Asiedu’s post Breasts Pressed Messed… yeah, you can lay the blame for my insomnia squarely at his feet.

So, now we’re onto an act that is openly active in this day and age.  Women in Cameroon and other parts south of the Sahara have taken to distorting their daughters’ figures with the sole purpose of making them undesirable to men. Girls as young as nine years old are being subjected to torture in order to prevent them from being raped.  Most women interviewed insist that they want to prevent pregnancy so their daughters can go to school.  They want to save them from the uncontrollable and horny males lurking round the corners.  As always, when the male of the species is unable to control his instinct for debauchery, it is the female who must suffer.  Why are we not bending penises and making them look like pretzels?
What affects me the most about these atrocities to women is how mothers will encourage their daughters to suffer through this.  How they manage to brainwash them into believing that they need to go through with it.  A mother will bind her daughters limbs to her own while a wanzam cuts away at her God-given vajayjay.  She will sob along with her and plead for her to withstand the pain.  Girls have been known to dislocate their shoulders while trying to free themselves from those “maternal” arms.  How can a mother pound her daughter’s breasts into flat misshapen objects and all the while tell her, “you must bear it.  Think about your education”?
The only modification we perform on males is circumcision, which is scientifically proven to be beneficial to them.  And guess what?  We do that in a hospital with trained staff and put them on medication so they do not suffer.
How bad does security have to be in a country before its women have to resort to such drastic measures?  How sick does a society have to be, for it to decide that its women have to destroy their bodies, to deny themselves of any sexual gratuity?  When will women ever be allowed to be free, to walk, talk and breathe as they like?  To decide what they want to do with the natural grace, beauty and passion that they are blessed with?

I’m SICK AND BLOODY TIRED of women having to constantly feel ashamed of their bodies. Enough is Enough!!!

I know, I know, I am quick to condemn.  But I fail to wrap my brain around this, to see why it is that us, WOMEN, the bearers of life should have to deal with the nonsense we do.  Why we need to fear for our virginity and constantly be on the lookout for people ready to molest and abuse our minds and bodies.  The next time there is a war somewhere, I want to hear about an army of women marching through the villages and ravishing the local men.  I want to hear about men pleading not to be taken, screaming for mercy while some lascivious female mounts their unwilling bodies and forces them to yield that which they would rather save for a deserving person. Then we’ll see what practices would stem with the pretense of protecting you.
Oh wait, that’s never going to happen. You damn lucky bastards can turn yourselves on and off like switches. One would have to feed you an aphrodisiac in order to rape you lot.  I have a new level of anger toward your kind now 🙁
~Daixy~
It’s past 5am and I’m still awake.  This is going to be a weird day, even for me 😮 Forgive the ranting.  I have a whole lot more to say, I just can’t finish it all in one day.