“A girl’s first period was referred to as samkweria and succeeding ones as beri ati. Older women report that there were no special ceremonies or equivalents of male initiation rites for girls. Only after she was pregnant would they explain to her about childbirth. It was desirable for a girl to be married before or shortly after her regular cycle or periods began. If not, there was fear of attempted intercourse by a spirit. Since girls could be betrothed while still quite small, they at times would go to live with the future husband’s mother, nin, or clan sister, mal ner, from the time they were old enough to leave their own mothers, at approximately seven or eight years of age until they were old enough to begin living with their husbands. This arrangement could begin before regular menses was established”.
D. F., Growing Up Sexually.
Last revised: Oct. 2004