“No woman should suffer the indignity of choosing between eating or buying sanitary items.”
Homeless women used to crowd into an Adelaide department store every day in the winter — but it was one lone woman that caught the eye of security guard Sue.
The woman had blood dripping down her legs, and a rust-coloured stain on the back of her dress. So when Sue saw her snatch a box of sanitary pads from the store shelves and stuff it into her worn backpack, she decided to turn a blind eye — knowing that for the woman with the stained dress, the cost of a box of pads might mean missing out on a meal.
Sadly, this woman’s tale — told to Mamamia by homeless women’s charity Share the Dignity — isn’t uncommon in our so-called ‘lucky country’.
There are currently 105,237 homeless people living in Australia, of whom 44 percent identify as female, according to Homelessness Australia. And while the male population of the homeless community is higher, there’s one recurring challenge homeless women have to deal with with on top of all their other struggles: their period.
“Gas stations and public buildings were my best friends, I’ll tell you that. I took ‘whore baths’ in sinks at gas stations and did my period business in there,” one formerly homeless woman wrote in a Reddit thread on how women living on the streets manage menstruation.