In a desperate attempt to prevent sexual assault and teen pregnancy, Cameroonian mothers are literally ironing their daughters’ breasts with hot stones to make them less attractive.
Breast ironing is not an acceptable form of pregnancy prevention or a replacement for sex education.
The ritual affects a quarter of all women in Cameroon and as soon as they show signs of puberty, sometimes as young as nine. The girls cry as they’re held down and scalding hot stones are pressed onto their breasts.
The possible damage of this practice can be severe, including bruises, deformities, abscesses, and even the disappearance of one or both breasts.
Cameroon mothers may think breast ironing is “for their [daughters’] own good,” but it’s not the way to prevent sexual violence and early pregnancy. Urge UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to speak out against breast ironing and to advocate for adequate sex education in Cameroon.
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