Two months ago, a 26-year-old unmarried woman in Gorakhpur died while trying to self abort her child.
Instead of going to a gynecologist, she took help from a YouTube video. The shame and stigma around the sexual health of unmarried women in India is what possibly prevented her from accessing proper medical services.
This is not the story of just one woman. This is the story of thousands of unmarried women who have to overcome enormous social stigma before they can even think of prioritising their sexual health.
Do you think all women, regardless of whether they’re married or not, should have access to sexual health medical services? Add your name to our campaign to break the silence and remove the stigma around sexual health in India.
Health Over Stigma (driven by Haiyya - a non profit campaigning organization) is an innovative campaign started in New Delhi in 2017 to end the shame and stigma around young unmarried women's sexual health. To highlight the obstacles unmarried women face in accessing sexual health medical services, this campaign shares personal testimonials of women.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5.6 talks about ensuring universal sexual and reproductive health services to all women. However, the reality on ground is quite different. Social stigma and often, judgement from medical service providers prevents unmarried women from accessing these services freely, resulting in them deprioritising their health, suffering from diseases that also lead to early deaths.
We want to shift the onus of the narrative from unmarried women on to medical service providers, and hold them accountable for providing this service in a manner that is judgment-free and sensitive.
Unmarried women’s sexual and reproductive health should be taken as a priority. It’s high time we break the silence. We must stand in solidarity to reclaim our sexual health, our sexual choices.
Let us put our #HealthOverStigma
Gorakhpur woman attempts to deliver baby watching Youtube, both die - Hindustan Times