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The European Experience
I first met Vanessa a good 8 years ago, but this is the first time I've ever heard of her period shaming experiences. Here Vanessa (left) and Gabriella (right) share their story on how growing up in Europe as a menstruating young girl was:
"I remember being young and still in Europe and getting my period at school, not having pads and having to go home in shame because I had bled through my uniform.
My best friend in childhood went through worse in Hungary as they could not afford pads, she was made to use cotton wool wrapped in tissue, which did nothing to stop the spread of blood, and every month she was teased and teased at school. She was quite traumatised by it.
For me, getting my period so young, and being the only one in my class to have it, then being humiliated by classmates who could not yet understand made me humiliated and isolated and made me terrified every month when it was due to arrive. I'll never forget that fear."
Vanessa introduced me to her friend Gabriella, and we all had a brief chat about their experiences in Hungary. Gabriella says "...and the cotton wool sticks to pubic hair!" we all had a good laugh at the truth and familiarity of this comment. Vanessa adds in "...like a free wax every time you pull your knickers off!". I love the humorous spirits that they both have!
Speaking of walking down memory lane, they sent this old picture in of the both of them!
Vanessa (third from left) and Gabriella (in the pink skirt) rocking these traditional Hungarian outfits.
"This was in Adelaide way back in 1988 or 1989 as part of a Hungarian Club Traditional Dance performance ...we've been friends since 1987! We're actually still friends with everyone in this photo!"