Celeste Mergens was shocked when she learned that girls at a Kenya orphanage were forced to stay in their rooms and sit on cardboard when they had their periods. So she created Days for Girls, a nonprofit that provides reusable sanitary products and health education to girls and women worldwide. Mergens' organization has gotten a recent boost from Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, who has led her own campaign to destigmatize menstruation. For Mergens, the work has special significance. She herself comes from difficult circumstances, and was raped at age 7. In Africa, she was horrified to learn that girls at the orphanage were sometimes sexually abused in exchange for disposable pads. Through Days for Girls, she wants to change "the price they were paying for our silence around menstruation."
Native women face disproportionately high rates of sexual violence, domestic abuse -- even murder. The Justice Department estimates that 1 in 3 Native women will be raped. Part of the problem is that tribes are restricted in their ability to prosecute, so abusers and predators are attracted to these unprotected women. In Seattle, Norine Hill, who is a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, has founded Mother Nation to help women out of abusive situations and bring them culturally appropriate services so they can rediscover their strength. In this incredibly powerful podcast, we explore some of the historical injustices inflicted on Native Americans, while also sharing Hill's dramatic personal tale that led her to found Mother Nation.