What the hell???
Activist Protests Cameroon “Breast Ironing” Practice
If young promiscuous girls living in America think they’ve got it bad with the older women in the community constantly pressuring them to not to bust it open for every knuckle head on the street, they should be glad that they don’t live in the Central African country of Cameroon.
A practice known as “breast ironing” is long-standing in the country and involves flattening the chests of quickly-developing young girls in an effort to minimize sexual activity and attention from the opposite sex.
via The Grio
In Cameroon, the breast, one of the most conspicuous signs of a woman’s femininity, is a target for ritual mutilation. Breast ironing, a practice that involves flattening a young girl’s breasts with highly-heated stones, pestles, spatulas or coconut shells among other objects, is often carried out by an older female relative on a victim.
It is considered a human rights violation by the Friends of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA).
According to UNPFA, one out of every four girls in Cameroon has been affected by breast ironing, equating to nearly 4 million young women.
Chi Yvonne Leina shared her story of witnessing this horrific ritual performed on one of her cousins when she was a young girl which led her to become an activist against the practice:
As a 14-year-old girl, Chi Yvonne Leina, now 32, became a witness to this custom, which is practiced by all 200 ethnic tribes in Cameroon. She often went to her grandmother’s hut after school, which is located in the Northwest region of Cameroon, and usually heard the sounds of her cousins playing.
But one particular day, the hut was eerily quiet.
“[W]hen I approached the hut I heard my cousin crying inside,” Leina told theGrio. “I was curious, so I peeped through a small crack in the door.”
What Leina saw next would change her life forever. “I heard my cousin groaning and I saw my grandmother warming a small grinding stone. [G]randma was using that small stone, which she warmed on the fire, to press my cousin’s breast, and was pressing hard on the breast, and she was crying.”
That was Leina ’s first encounter with breast ironing. Although this practice can result in physical damage in addition to retarding developing breasts, many elders condone it. Mothers or close relatives of young girls who perform the practice believe breast ironing will deter sexual predators.
SMH. We’re speechless. You can read more about this practice and this woman’s story here.
Photo Credit: Chi Yvonne Leina