The Vulnerability Project was created to explore various facets of becoming or past vulnerability. Nothing is more vulnerable than the idea that one’s basic needs may not be taken care of.
A couple years ago, a marathon runner brought attention to the lack of access to feminine hygiene products (referred in this post as hygiene products to include all people who bleed monthly but do not connect with the feminine adjective). This post took me aback. However, instead of responding how most did (with revulsion), I started to research about my local bleeders. I found that many of the persons who lived outside, or who were underhoused rarely had enough products to get through one cycle. Many used other items to absorb the blood, including newspapers.
Dignity is a right. Basic hygiene is a right. So, I started a drive for tampons, liners, pads, and wipes (along with hand sanitizer and ziplock bags) for my local community. The response was HUGE. My community came through with over 2500 items. I put together packs of single month packs and gave them to local organizations (and gave by hand to those amazing people I encountered) that served the underhoused and lived outside. The people who worked at those places told me that literally NOBODY every donates those supplies.
A few months later, I ran another drive and we doubled our collection with over 5000 items. I was ecstatic!
Today, in the news is Arizona’s Bill asking to provide unlimited supplies to those who bleed while incarcerated. Forgive my naivete, but I thought this ALREADY HAPPENED. According to the article, most people need to work 21 hours to be able to afford the bare minimum of supplies they might need for a cycle on the inside. Some are cutting their pads and making them tampons to stretch them longer. They get 12 pads a month given to them a month. According to the Mayo Clinic, women would need an average of 20 per month to maintain BASIC safety and health standards.
This has inspired me to talk with my local prosecutor to see what their policies are.
We have to do better, world.