Esquire Singapore: We Need To Talk About Menstrual Health

It is 2014. It is hot outside. And Tara Walker is on her period without any pads or tampons.

The homeless shelter Walker and her three children sleep at do not allow them to stay in during the day. Her youngest, three years old, fidgets, knowing their only option for the day is to be outside.

Walker is new to this small town in Oregon and cannot leave her young children alone. She has no choice but to take them into the public, single-use restroom with her, as she uses cheap paper towels to create a makeshift pad.

Her two oldest boys face the wall, not due to shame but to give their mother some privacy. Her youngest, however, is concerned about whether they need to call 911 to report that his mom is bleeding everywhere.

“It was the most humiliating moment of my life, at the time,” Walker recalls. “But it was also when I was able to teach my youngest about menstruation. That motivated me to speak up.”

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Manju Bangalore