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在这里,年轻女性因经期禁忌而死去

更新时间:2018-6-21 20:33:05 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Where a Taboo Is Leading to the Deaths of Young Girls
在这里,年轻女性因经期禁忌而死去

TURMAKHAND, Nepal — Not long ago, in rural western Nepal, Gauri Kumari Bayak was the spark of her village. Her strong voice echoed across the fields as she husked corn. When she walked down the road at a brisk clip, off to lead classes on birth control, many admired her self-confidence.

尼泊尔特马坎德——就在不久前,高里·库马里·巴亚克(Gauri Kumari Bayak)还在给这个尼泊尔西部乡村带去活力。剥玉米时,她那嘹亮的声音在田野上回荡。她迈着轻快的步伐去主持节育课程,很多人都欣赏她的自信。

But last January, Bayak’s lifeless body was carried up the hill, a stream of mourners bawling behind her. Her remains were burned, her dresses given away. The little hut where she was pressured to sequester herself during her menstrual period — and where she died — was smashed apart, erasing the last mark of another young life lost to a deadly superstition.

但是去年1月,她的尸体被抬到山上,一群哀悼者在她身后放声痛哭。她的遗体被火化,衣服也送了人。她死在月经期间被迫隔离自己的小屋里,那座小屋现在已被拆除,又一个年轻生命死于致命的迷信,她人生最后的痕迹也被抹去。

“I still can’t believe she’s not alive,” said Dambar Budha, her father-in-law, full of regret, sitting on a rock, staring off into the hills.

“我仍然无法相信她已经不在人世了,”她的公公丹巴尔·巴哈(Dambar Budha)说,他满心懊恼地坐在一块石头上,眼望着群山。

In this corner of Nepal, deep in the Himalayas, women are banished from their homes every month when they get their period. They are considered polluted, even toxic, and an oppressive regime has evolved around this taboo, including the construction of a separate hut for menstruating women to sleep in. Some of the spaces are as tiny as a closet, walls made of mud or rock, basically menstruation foxholes. Bayak died from smoke inhalation in hers as she tried to keep warm by a small fire in the bitter Himalayan winter.

在尼泊尔这个深处喜马拉雅山脉中的偏僻地区,女人每个月经期时都会被赶出家园。月经被认为是不洁的,甚至是有毒的,围绕这个禁忌发展出一整套压迫体制,包括建造一个单独的小屋,让正值经期女人在那里睡觉。有些屋子像壁橱一样小,墙壁由泥土或岩石制成,基本上就是经期女性的散兵坑。在喜马拉雅山寒冷的冬季,巴亚克试图生一点火来取暖,结果被浓烟呛死。

Each year, at least one woman or girl — often more — dies in these huts, from exposure to the cold, smoke inhalation or attacks by animals. Just this June, another young woman was found dead in a menstruation hut, bitten by a snake. Her family tried to cover up the death, the police said, by destroying the hut and quickly burying her body, but the authorities exhumed it and are investigating what happened.

每年至少有一个女人或女孩——通常不止一个——在这些小屋中因寒冷、呛烟或遭动物攻击死亡。就在今年6月,另一名年轻女子被发现死于经期小屋,死因是蛇咬。警方说,她的家人试图掩盖她的死亡,拆毁了小屋并迅速掩埋尸体,但当局发掘出尸体,并对此事展开调查。

Many women keep doing it, out of intense social pressure or even guilt, and every evening, across these rippled green hills where little wisps of smoke melt into the darkening sky, hundreds of menstruating women and girls trudge out of their houses into chhaupadi huts.

由于受到强烈的社会压力,甚至是出于内疚,很多女人会一直这样做,每天晚上,在那些起伏绿色山丘之间,一缕缕细细的烟上升到黑暗的天空之中,几百个经期女人和女孩迈着沉重的步履离开家,来到这些名叫朝泊蒂(chhaupadi)的小屋。

One woman, Mansara Nepali, sheepishly showed me hers. Made of stone, it was no more than 3 feet tall. As Nepali bent herself nearly in half to get in, she thunked her head on the tiny door frame.

曼萨拉·尼帕利羞怯地给我看她的小屋。它由石头建成,高度顶多3英尺(约合0.9米)。她弯着腰走进去,身体简直快要对折起来,头撞在小小的门框上。

“We built this ourselves,” she said, rubbing her forehead. “That’s why it’s not so good.”

“我们自己盖了这个,”她揉着额头说。“所以盖得不太好。”

Like many other women I met, Nepali, who thought she was around 35, was illiterate. She had never gone to school and seemed embarrassed about her poverty. Her face was deeply grooved, cheeks reddened from laboring outside every day on a windy mountainside.

尼帕利认为自己的年龄大概是35岁,和我遇到的许多其他女人一样,她也是文盲。她从没上过学,似乎对自己的贫穷感到难堪。她的脸上布满深深的皱纹,面颊因为每天在多风的山坡上劳作而发红。

“It’s all part of the suffering and humiliation women have to endure because of harsh traditions,” said Pashupati Kunwar, who runs a small aid group to help women. “Domestic violence is still bad. Child marriage is still high. We are trying to convince people that times are changing, but superstition is still strong.”

“恶劣的传统令女人必须忍受痛苦与羞辱,这也是其中一部分,”帕舒帕蒂·孔瓦尔(Pashupati Kunwar)说,她领导着一个帮助女性的小型援助组织。“家庭暴力依然猖獗。童婚率仍然很高。我们试图说服人们时代在变,但迷信力量依然强大。”

The chhaupadi tradition seems especially hard to break. From the earliest age, people here are taught that any contact with a menstruating woman will bring bad luck. Most do not question it.

朝泊蒂传统似乎特别难以打破。这里的人从小被教育说,与经期女性接触会带来不幸。大多数人不会质疑它。

“If a woman goes inside the family’s home during her period, three things will happen,” explained a farmer named Runcho. “A tiger will come; the house will catch on fire; and the head of the house will get sick.”

“如果女人经期留在自家的房子里,就会发生三件事情。一个名叫伦乔(Runcho)的农民解释说。“老虎会来;房子会着火;一家之主会生病。”

Runcho spoke without any doubt or flourish. When asked if he had ever seen a tiger in his village, he smiled and didn’t answer yes or no, but then told a long story about how, maybe 10 years ago, he accidentally brushed up against his daughter when she was menstruating and lost his sight for several days.

伦乔的的语气中没有丝毫怀疑或是夸张。当被问及是否见过老虎出现在自己的村子里时,他笑了笑,不置可否,但他后来讲了一个很长的故事,说是大约10年前,他意外碰到了正值经期的女儿,结果失明了好几天。

“It was a nightmare,” he said.

“真是一场噩梦,”他说。

As he spoke, his teenage niece, who was having her period, was getting ready to crawl into a storage space beneath his house. The sun was setting behind the mountains, a cool wind sweeping in. The storage space was dark, cold, cramped and smelled like wet fur — and it was filled with itchy straw.

当他说话时,他的一个十来岁、正值经期的侄女正准备爬进他房子地下的储藏室。太阳落山时,寒风扑面而来。储藏室黑暗、寒冷、狭窄,闻起来有湿漉漉的皮毛味道 ——里面装满了刺人的稻草。

“I’m happy to go down there,” said his niece, Devika. “I don’t want my parents to get sick.”

“我很乐意去那里,”他的侄女德维卡(Devika)说。“我可不想让父母生病。”

Her uncle watched her closely.

叔叔仔细打量着她。

“The only problem,” she added, “is that our mobiles don’t work down there. We need to go outside to check our Facebook updates.”

“唯一的问题是,”她补充说,“那儿没有手机信号。我们得出去刷Facebook。”

When I asked Runcho if he would like to sleep in the crawl space, he laughed. “Why should I?” he said. “It’s for women!”

我问伦乔是否愿意去那个只能爬行的空间里睡觉,他笑了。“为什么我要在那儿睡觉?”他说。“那是给女人预备的!”

In some villages, menstruating women are sent to cow sheds. Women who just gave birth are also considered polluted, and many remain isolated with their newborns for several days. Two years ago, said Kunwar, the women’s aid worker, a mother left her newborn alone in a shed for just a few minutes to wash her clothes. A jackal skulked in and snatched the baby.

在一些村庄,经期妇女被送进牛棚。刚分娩的妇女也被认为受到了污染,许多妇女现在依然在分娩后和新生儿一起被隔离几天。妇女救援人员孔瓦尔称,两年前,一位母亲把新生儿独自留在小屋里几分钟,去洗衣服。结果一只豺狼溜进来,把婴儿叼走了。

Many religions observe rules around menstruation, and Hinduism places a special emphasis on purity and pollution. Still, scholars are not sure why the menstruation taboo is so strong in western Nepal, where countless villages, across an area comprising hundreds of miles, still practice it.

许多宗教都遵守跟月经有关的规矩,印度教特别强调纯洁和污染。但学者们仍不确定,为什么尼泊尔西部的月经禁忌如此强烈,横跨数百英里的区域里的无数村庄依然奉行这种禁忌。

It may be because this region of Nepal is poor, relatively homogeneous, overwhelmingly Hindu and remote, and the houses tend to be small. (In other Hindu subcultures, menstruating women can be secluded to some degree within their homes.)

这可能是因为尼泊尔的这个地区很穷,比较同质化,绝大多数是印度教教徒,地处偏远,房屋往往都很小(在印度教的其他亚文化中,经期女性可以在自己家里进行一定程度的隔离)。

It was the death of Tulasi Shahi, an 18-year-old woman bitten by a snake last year while staying in a cow shed, that pushed lawmakers to write the new anti-chhaupadi law, several lawmakers said.

几位议员表示,18岁的图拉西·沙希(Tulasi Shahi)去年住牛棚时被蛇咬死的事情促使议员们起草了新的反朝泊蒂法。

Though menstruating women of all ages sleep in the huts, chhaupadi seems to disproportionately kill the young. Activists said this may be because young women aren’t as savvy about protecting themselves; for example, they might not know which type of snakes are poisonous or how important it is to keep the hut’s door slightly open if there’s a fire burning.

尽管各个年龄段的经期女性都睡在小屋里,但朝泊蒂传统似乎大多导致年轻女性死亡。活动人士表示,这可能是因为年轻女性不太懂得保护自己,例如,她们可能不知道哪种蛇有毒,或者不知道,点火取暖时把小屋的门打开一点是多么重要。

“Our conclusion,” said Rewati Raman Bhandari, a former member of parliament, “was that if we left this up to society to change, it would take hundreds of years.”

“我们的结论是,”前国会议员莉瓦蒂·拉曼·班达里(Rewati Raman Bhandari)说,“如果我们让社会自己去改变这个传统,那将需要几百年的时间。”

Budha, the father-in-law of the woman who died in January, Bayak, now tells as many people who will listen about the chhaupadi dangers.

今年1月去世的巴亚克的公公巴哈现在逢人就讲述朝泊蒂传统的危险。

“But people don’t care,” he said. “I say, ‘My daughter died, yours could, too.’ But then they say, ‘We are sorry but that is our culture.'”

“但人们不在乎,”他说。“我说,‘我的儿媳死了,你们的也有这种危险。’但他们说,‘我们很遗憾,但这是我们的文化。’”

It wasn’t lost on him that Bayak, who the family said was around 20 when she died, was something of a feminist, leading birth control classes and encouraging women to stand up for themselves.

巴亚克的家人说,她去世时20岁左右。巴哈还记得,她在某种程度上是女权主义者,主持节育课程,鼓励女性维护自己的权益。

“But even she still followed this tradition,” he said. “The pressure’s too strong. If she hadn’t gone to the hut during her period, she would have felt embarrassed.”

“但即使是她,也遵守了这个传统,”他说。“压力太大了。如果经期不去小屋,她会觉得尴尬。”

He misses everything about her, he said: the way she read books, her enthusiasm for life, her voice. Bayak moved in with her husband’s family after she married and grew especially close to her in-laws. After she died, it was her guilt-ridden father-in-law who smashed apart the menstruation hut with his own hands.

他怀念她的一切,他说:她看书的样子、她对生活的热情和她的声音。巴亚克婚后搬去和丈夫的家人同住,与姻亲的关系特别亲近。她死后,正是她充满负罪感的公公亲手将经期隔离小屋拆毁。

Since then, he has insisted that his wife sleep in the main house during her period.

从那时起,他坚决要求妻子经期在正房里睡。

“And you know what?” he said. “Nothing bad has happened. All these years, we’ve been fooled into believing a false superstition.”

“你知道吗?”他说。“什么不好的事情也没发生。这些年来,我们被骗了,相信了一种错误的迷信。”

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