Remember that Youtube video that went viral of the woman filming herself in the bathroom saying “sittin’ on the toilet” over and over? While some people saw that video and laughed, some would have thought, “Wow, she is SO lucky to be sitting on a toilet”.
An Indian woman, Anita Narre, left her husband because he did not provide her with a toilet in their home in a village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Even though he said that he didn’t have the necessary funds to build her one, she didn’t budge. He built her one using his savings and help from their neighbours, and she returned after 8 days.
Sanitary conditions are a rare commodity in the Global South, with limited healthcare infrastructures and unstable economic conditions—having a toilet is considered to be a privilege more than a right. Instead, when nature calls, they have to go outside and at times, walk some distance away for a designated “bathroom” area which is typically confined to straw-walls or poorly assembled wood and a hole in the ground. Unfortunately, they’re then subjected to health risks for not having something that some deem as a customary component of a household.
Narre didn’t comply with that notion.
While some articles suggest that it’s the women who suffer the most of not having toilets in their households, Narre took it upon herself to ensure that she doesn’t surrender to those conditions. Demanding her husband provide her with a toilet and leaving him for that time awarded her $10,000 given by an NGO. Her story is not unique however. Unfortunately, for many, this is an everyday reality. Many people in India don’t have access to toilets or other sanitary spaces for bathrooms even though the Indian government has pushed a drive for “sanitation for all”. Specifically for smaller villages, the lack of structure and regulation is apparent because evidently, it takes a woman to leave her home in order to force her husband to build her a toilet.
Gives a shot of perspective to the things we often take for granted, doesn’t it?