In all my years as an African, I can say I have heard of some barbaric things some Africans do but never this (breast ironing). I know you will wonder how far true this is. Africans have always taken pride in their bodies and this is hard for me to believe, that in some part of Africa and indeed Britain, this Babaric, archaic, denounced and outrageous tradition still exist.
Breast ironing is a process of getting a girl child’s “ironed” by her mother in a bid to stop them from growing so that they won’t attract male attention. It is the brutal flattening of a young girl’s developing chest to ‘protect her from rape and sexual harassment.Those who implement the practice tend to believe it will stop a girl from being raped and that it is for her ‘safety’. It is the process using objects like large stones, hammers or a spatulas, spoon that has been heated over hot coals to compress or mutilate the breast tissue and make the adolescent look less ‘womanly’.
1. Breast ironing is practised throughout Cameroon and has also been reported across West and Central Africa, in Benin, Chad, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Kenya, Togo, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. In South Africa, a similar practice is known as “breast sweeping”.
2. It has also been alleged that the practice is also carried out in some parts of Britain since there is no Law that stops parent from ironing the breast of their daughter(s). It is estimated thousands of girls in African communities in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Luton, Nottingham, Leicester, Sheffield and Leeds may be exposed to the ritual, which usually happens in the family home.
3. According to a Cameroonian doctor Flavien Ndonko he said: “Breast ironing is both physically and psychologically damaging. It can cause infections and abscesses and has been linked to breast cancer, problems with breastfeeding, and severe depression.”
4. It has also been claimed that breast ironing has not stopped teenage pregnancy in the areas where this practice is carried out, for example the case of cathy who underwent breast ironing for the first time at the age of ten, it did not however stop her from getting pregnant at the age of 16 and leaving school.
5. The united Nation estimates the perpetrators of this acts are the mothers of the victims.
The truth is that in trying to protect them from assault from boys presumably, they are actually assaulting them, two wrongs cannot make a right, a lot of people have asked the question “why” are they doing this, which I see as a misplace of question because it is neither here nor there, my view is that it shouldn’t be done in the first place, parent who are found guilty of this barbaric act should be charged to court and made to face persecution.
It has been noted that while suppressing the development of the breat, it also exposes the girl child to numerous health implications such as dissymmetry of the breast, infections, cancer itching, discharge of milk and lots more.
The victims are most likely to experience cysts, severe fever, tissue damage and disappearance of one or both breasts, to make matter worse, it does not stop sexual activity, any girl child who will engage in sexual promiscuity will still do it irrespective of what her getting her breast ironed or not. It is better to give sex education to their child as early as possible.
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