When Menstrual Huts Are Above the Law

The Nepalese government updated its ban on menstrual huts last August, attaching new penalties to the practice. The custom of chaupadi is linked to Hindu beliefs that deem menstruation “spiritually polluting,” writes Danielle Preiss.

Despite the ban, the custom persists in some communities. This year, 4 people have already died in menstrual sheds, mostly from smoke inhalation after lighting fires to keep warm.

Why doesn’t the law have teeth?

One reason: It’s hard to prove someone was forced to sleep in the shed when fear of spiritual retribution, rather than force, drives some women to use the sheds.

NPR Goats and Soda

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