The internet has been left in outrage after a woman revealed online that her brother-in-law had blocked her from using his hot tub, solely because she was on her period.
The woman, who took to the social media platform Reddit to share her experience, has since received a huge amount of support from those who engaged with her post. Her brother-in-law, on the other hand, has been branded a “misogynist.”
The woman’s story comes at a time when shame and stigma surrounding periods is still very much in existence. According to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), “myths, misconceptions, and misinformation about periods feed into stigma that can be hugely damaging for people across the world.” “Rather than simply being acknowledged as a natural bodily function, it is considered rude or embarrassing to discuss periods in some communities around the world. While using euphemisms such as ‘strawberry week’ in Austria, ‘I’m with Chico’ in Brazil, and ‘Granny’s stuck in traffic’ in South Africa may seem harmless, they reinforce the idea that periods are shameful and something to talk about in code,” the IPPF wrote on its website.
In this case, the woman and her husband were visiting her brother-in-law who had just bought a new house. “I got my period while I was sleeping and the guest room sheets [were left with] a small bloodstain. My husband helped me strip the bed and I went down to the laundry room to pretreat and then wash the sheets. The bloodstain went, but when we told [my brother-in-law] he looked completely disgusted,” she added.
The woman went on to share that her brother-in-law proceeded to “inspect” the sheets for a “very long time,” and then forbade her from entering his backyard hot tub while she was still on her period.
“I was shocked and I explained that the nighttime leak was because I wasn’t expecting my period, but that it was perfectly safe and sanitary for me to put in a tampon and sit in the hot tub for an hour,” she wrote.
Her brother-in-law refused to compromise on the matter and formally barred the woman from his hot tub. The woman and her husband, the man’s brother, told him that he was being “ridiculous.” The pair then decided to leave the man’s property, to which he responded argumentatively. The woman went on to explain that her relationship with her brother-in-law has been left tainted by his reaction to her being on her period.
To make matters even frostier, the brother-in-law has since demanded that she and her husband pay him $100 for the “damage” caused to his bedsheets. The pair have refused to pay him on the basis that the sheets were cleaned and restored to their original condition.
The Brother-in-Law Is a ‘Misogynist’
Since it was shared to the social media platform on April 7 by @Dawn_In_Danger, the post which can be seen here has left thousands of Redditors feeling enraged at the man’s reaction. Over 4,400 internet users have commented under the post, vastly in support of the woman for leaving the man’s property and refusing to pay him the $100 he requested. The woman’s husband has also been cheered online for standing up against his brother.
“The brother-in-law is such a horrific misogynist,” one user wrote in response to the shocking post.
“I’m only a trans woman so I can’t claim to understand fully what it’s like to be on your period but what I do know is that it is out of your control. When will people learn that periods are a natural occurrence and stop demonizing people for having them,” she added.
“Periods don’t always show up when expected and you can’t just stuff a tampon in just in case. Some of us bleed a lot, supplies aren’t always easily at hand, or aren’t the right ones, or they move in your sleep and accidents happen. I’ve managed to bleed through a tampon and a pad on bad days,” another user commented.
“It’s truly sick what some people would do to women simply for having a period,” shared a different user.
Can the Woman and Her Brother-in-Law Ever Reconcile?
While it’s been left uncertain whether the pair will ever mend their relationship, or if the woman will even want to, psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman told Newsweek that it is entirely possible for quarreling family members or friends to turn over a new leaf.
“When family members have a disagreement or fight, it can have long lasting consequences. They can either talk and get to the bottom of their disagreement, bringing about an understanding and closeness, or they can drift apart,” Lieberman told Newsweek.
“Usually such disagreements or fights are based upon misunderstandings, that can be unraveled if both people care about the relationship enough to try to unravel them. The timing is important. Speak too soon and they may be still too heated to be able to listen to each other or to explain their side. Too late and there’s the risk of each of them drifting off, forgetting how important the relationship was, and never trying to heal the rift between them,” she added.
The psychiatrist went on to explain that in cases like the one shared on Reddit, where family members have fallen out due to cultivating different fundamental beliefs and attitudes, healing those wounds can be more difficult and a more sensitive approach to rebuilding bridges needs to be taken.
“Healing begins with one of the people reaching out to the other. This could be by text, email, letter, telephone or by sending flowers or some other gift. It helps to start out with an apology, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong,” said Lieberman.
“It could just be an expression of feeling bad that this misunderstanding exists between you. Then you can simply suggest a general time and place to get together to talk, perhaps a place that holds good memories for you both. If you find that you can’t work it out yourselves, you can then include someone who cares about you both, or a psychotherapist to be a mediator,” she added.
The New York-based psychiatrist told Newsweek that the most common things that she has seen people disagree or fight about is typically money, political views, jealousy over work or romantic issues, personal slights and bruised egos. However, Dr. Lieberman argues that no matter what the relationship breakdown was over, reconciliation is always possible.
“If the people are lovers or married, they may also argue about sex. Whatever the subject of the rift, it can almost always be healed,” she concluded.
Newsweek reached out to @Dawn_In_Danger for comment. We could not verify the details of this case.
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