January 22, 2016


* Anushka Dasgupta, a high school senior from Kolkata, India, shared a picture of her stained pants on Facebook along with an insightful message

* The student explained that when she was commuting home men and women were staring at her 

* She didn't realize why she was the center of attention until a woman tried offering her a sanitary napkin

* Anushka said she shared her post because she wanted to start an honest conversation about menstrual stigma that still exists 

Center of attention: The young woman said she couldn't understand why people were

staring at her until a woman discretely offered her a sanitary napkin 

A young woman who accidentally stained her pants with blood during her period has penned a powerful response to the men and women who shamed her because she was menstruating, sharing a photo of her splotched trousers to prove there is nothing to be embarrassed of. 

Anushka Dasgupta, a high school senior from Kolkata, India, explained that she was commuting home on Sunday when women started telling her to pull her shirt down, while men were very obviously 'ogling' her. It wasn't until a woman offered her a sanitary napkin that she realized she had bled through her trousers. 

'So here I was, well past eight, standing alone at Esplanade [a metro station] with a massive red stain across my butt and a rather artistic red dot under the zipper of my pants,' she wrote on Facebook

'Multiple women walked up to me on my way home and asked me to pull my tee shirt down, most men ogled, all the kids I met didn't notice/care,' she wrote of her late-night commute, which consisted of walking, a trip on the metro, and a 10-minute bus ride.

'I came to know why I was the center of attention for the better part of my journey when a woman (well meaning, I'm sure) offered me a sanitary napkin. 

'I had stained my pants.'

Anushka took to Facebook to share her story along with a photo of her bloody pants on the floor next to a pad. 

'This post is for all the women who offered to help me hide my womanhood, I AM NOT ASHAMED,' she wrote.

Taking a stand: Anushka Dasgupta, from India, shared this photo of pants covered
in menstruation blood after she was shamed for accidentally staining her pants
during her commute home  
'I bleed every 28-35 days, it is painful at times, I get moody at times, but I walk into the kitchen and get myself some chocolate biscuits and I'm good to go for the next eight hours come hell or high water because I AM NOT ASHAMED.'

Anushka then moved onto the male onlookers who stared at her and made her feel judged. 

This is for you: Along with her picture, Anushka penned a powerful response to the women who tried to help her 'hide her womanhood' and the men who 'ogled' her 

'Check out the big red blotch on my pants all you want, check out my butt, check out the way I move, come touch me if you dare, and I will show you that I AM NOT ASHAMED,' she continued. 

'I will take out a sanitary napkin and show you how it works while you can teach me how to pee in public (because clearly you're not ashamed, and neither am I).

Anushka ended her post with a message to the kids who didn't think twice about the stain on her pants. 

'To all the children who didn't give a damn, DO NOT BE ASHAMED. There will be many bloodstains on pants, on skirts, on bedsheets, on cushion covers, on chairs, on tables, against the wall, and on the battlefield where YOU fight the stigma by NOT BEING ASHAMED,' she said.

Anushka advised them to never whisper when they say the word 'periods' or subtly offer a woman a sanitary napkin or clean clothes.  

'ASK her if she needs one, TELL her she has stained her clothes, DO NOT HELP HER HIDE IT,' she reiterated. 

'I AM NOT ASHAMED. I AM NOT ON MY *period*. I AM ON MY PERIOD [sic],' she ended her message. 

More than 7,000 Facebook users have read Anushka's post since it was shared on Sunday, and many praised her for her bravery and candid honesty. 

'Reactivated my Facebook account for this one comment,' Soham Chakraborty wrote. 'Keep making sensible stuff. Go viral on the social media. [It] helps balance the bulls**t equation online. I don't need to say more, you know what I feel.' 

Shravan Kaul added: 'Becoming quite the phenomenon. Keep writing. Brutal honesty was always your thing.'

Meanwhile, a Facebook user known as Luan C noted that 'periods have been considered "taboo", something that must be kept hidden from others because it is unclean and shameful'. 

'I bleed; so does every woman,' she continued. 'I really don’t see what the problem is. It’s just a part of human biology. I'm not ashamed and neither you should be.' 

However, others criticized Anushka by claiming she was flaunting her period for attention.

One of her critics, Criss Wylde, shared her post and wrote: 'Oh OK you have periods, and you have blood stains on your clothes, so what is there to be proud of ???? Is it some kind of trophy ? Or some possessions you are proud of ? 

'First she says "men are oogling", which would mean she is uncomfortable with the situation, then again she denies the women who tried to help her . Are you special kind of stupid ? 

'I'm not asking you to hide it or be ashamed of it but what's there to be giving proud of ? OK maybe it's OK to be proud of, but I don't see a damn reason to be boasting of the blood stains. 

'Stupid woman. Probably a feminist. Don't be stupid. [sic]'

After receiving multiple negative comments, Anushka returned to her post to show that she is grateful for those who are supportive of her message and are continuing to spread it. 

'Thank you, all of you, for all the support and for just being rational, thinking individuals who understand what this post means and what that bloodstain stands for,' she wrote. 'The haters and their hilarity pale in comparison to the way we're taking this fight forward.' 

Anuskha told Buzzfeed that many people, both friends and strangers, have contacted her and thanked her for sharing her post. 

'The only thing I wanted to do by putting it up was to start constructive discussion around menstrual stigma, and that’s been happening,' she explained. 

Anuskha's story also inspired her grandmother to talk to her about the stigma surrounding menstruation when she was a young woman and how traumatic her experiences were. 

'She’s opening up to me about things she hasn’t ever spoken about in her 71 years thanks to this post,' Anushka noted. 'THAT outweighs all the hate. THAT helps me ensure that this post doesn’t become just another internet gimmick.'