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End breast ironing in Cameroon


Meg Kissack
WVoN campaigns co-ordinator

In the African country of Cameroon, breast ironing affects one in four girls (see WVoN coverage).

The practice involves flattening young girls’ growing breasts with objects such as hot stones and coconuts often carried out by the mother.

Girls as young as nine cry as they are held down and their breasts scalded with hot stones or other objects.

The purpose of the ritual is to make girls ‘less attractive’ in the hope that they won’t be sexually assaulted.

The resultant damage can be severe, including bruising, deformities, abscesses, and even the disappearance of one or both breasts.

An interesting post on Sherights, argues, “This is not to say that the women performing the breast “ironing” are at fault; rather, fault lies with a system in which sexual and gender based violence is systemic and justice remains out of reach for women.

“It is frightening how far women feel they must go in order to avoid sexual assaults and predatory men.”

Care 2 are currently running a petition to Urge UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to speak out against breast ironing and to advocate for adequate sex education in Cameroon.

They hope to get 30,000 signatures by 9 August and are almost there.

Please help them reach the target by signing the petition and tell the UN Secretary General that breast ironing is not an acceptable form of pregnancy prevention or a replacement for sex education.

Please sign this petition and circulate it as widely as you can.

Find out more about our campaigns.

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