Post link 17 April 2016, 12:24
Breast ironing fact file: Barbaric, widespread and secret

[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 and Zimbabwe. In South Africa, a similar practice is known as “breast sweeping”.

[2] There are thought to be around four million victims in Cameroon, with four in 10 schoolgirls affected.

[3] 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.

[4] There have been two arrests in London and Birmingham, but no one has yet been charged.

[5] Cameroonian doctor Flavien Ndonko 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.”

[6] The UN estimates that 58 per cent of perpetrators are the victim’s mother.

Victim's story: 'I was unable to feed my baby'

Cathy AbahFouda is a survivor of breast ironing and now works for RENATA, an NGO which campaigns against the practice.

She said: “I started growing breasts when I was 10.

"My mother explained to my sister that I was growing breasts too early and that I would attract boys.”

Cathy underwent breast ironing a first time, but a year later her breasts grew again and she was so ashamed she began to carry out the procedure on herself.

“Breast ironing, however, did not prevent me from getting pregnant at the age of 16 and leaving school.”

Her breasts were so damaged she needed surgery and was unable to breastfeed her baby.

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Topic edited 3 times, last edit by RouTe, 18 April 2016, 11:59  

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