Agencies Express Concern Over "Breast Ironing" In Africa

by Medindia Content Team on  July 7, 2006 at 9:42 AM General Health News   - G J E 4
Agencies Express Concern Over
Non-profit agencies have expressed their concerns over the practice of "Breast Ironing" in West African countries. This practice is widely prevalent and is used to stunt breast growth in girls by mothers and other relatives telling them that it is for their own good.

It is aimed at warding off sexual harassment and is carried out by hard or heated objects pressed against the developing breasts in teenaged girls. "Breast ironing is an age-old practice in Cameroon, as well as in many other countries in West and Central Africa, including Chad, Togo, Benin, Guinea-Conakry, just to name a few," said Flavien Ndonko, an anthropologist and local representative of German development agency GTZ.

A survey by the agency on 5,000 girls and women aged between 10 and 82 years found that an estimated 4 million women were a victim to this primitive practice in Cameroon and other countries.

"If society has been silent about it up to now it is because, like other harmful practices done to women such as female genital mutilation, it was thought to be good for the girl," said Ndonko. "Even the victims themselves thought it was good for them."

But the practice is associated with pain, abscesses, infections and even breast cancer. The practice is though to benefit young girls.


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i would like to know more about this. How do they do breast ironing? How does it actaully stop the growth of the breast. It is quite horrifing to know that women actually have to get this done to keep themselves safe!! Tougher rules and regulations need to be added into the country for the welfare of women and children
guest Saturday, July 8, 2006
What a horrible thing to do to a young growing girl. We only knew so far about genital mutilations in Africa, wonder if this is practised in other parts of the world. can someone enlighten us and perhaps send a detailed summary to these boards.
shroff53 Saturday, July 8, 2006
I cannot bring myself to blame these mothers. How about doing something about rape so rampant that, for their daughters' sake, mothers feel they must choose between the lesser of two horrors? Enact and enforce strong rape laws, and there will be no need for 'breast ironing.'
guest Friday, July 7, 2006

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