Breast Ironing is an extremely dangerous cultural practice that affects girls globally. Victims could suffer long time psychological and physical effects. About 3.8 million girls around the world are estimated to suffer such cultural practices. Here are other harmful practices that affect girls
Breast ironing or breast flattening is the pounding and massaging of pubescent girls breast using hard or heated objects to make them stop developing breast. It is usually carried out by the girls’ mother who thinks that it is the only way to protect the girl from sexual harassment, rape, unwanted sexual advancements and early pregnancy that has the potential to tarnish the family name.
The globalcitzen.com states that this archaic cultural practice is mostly practised in African countries such as Chad, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, Ghana etc. In the UK, about 1000 girls from West Africa who are Immigrant descent are reported to have had their breast ironed.
According to the guardian.com, the United Nations describes breast ironing as one of the five most under-reported crimes relating to gender-based violence in the world (along with bride-napping in central Asia, traumatic fistula – a condition that can occur as the result of vicious sexual violence – in Africa, femicide in women in central America, and child marriage).
These practices do not protect girls in any way. It rather harms them. Breast ironing is extremely painful and could cause a person’s body tissue to damage. Although there are no known medical side effects, medical experts warn that it could contribute to a victim getting breast cancer, cyst or depression.
It could also interfere with breastfeeding when victims start bearing children later in life. Victims could also suffer breast infections, the formation of abscesses, malformed breast and the eradication of one or both breast.
These practices ranges dramatically in its severity, from using heated leaves to press and massage the breasts, to using a scalding grinding stone to crush the budding gland. Due to this variation, health consequences vary from benign to acute.
Although we are in an advanced era, this harmful practise continues to fester on without any actions taken to put an end to it. We must institute laws that will punish perpetrators severely regardless of who they are. The future is female we must do everything in our power to protect it.