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6 Countries In Africa Where Mothers Iron Their Daughter Breasts To Prevent Rape And Early Marriage

Pictures for illustration purposes.

As their bodies develop, the beginning of puberty can be a time of uncertainty and even fear for many girls around the world. But "breast ironing," a behavior linked to the start of adolescence, turns this worry into agony for more than 3.8 million girls around the world.

In an effort to stop girls' breasts from developing as they begin to show indications of puberty, mothers start "ironing" them by pounding or massaging their chests with heated objects such as stones, spatulas, and pestles. Breast sweeping or "breast flattening" are other names for the act.

Mothers might also tightly wrap bandages around their daughters' chests to stop the development of their breasts.

Like "female genital mutilation," "breast ironing" is a practice that has been

According to research, "breast ironing" is a popular practice in Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, and Benin, but it is most prevalent in Cameroon, where about a quarter of girls and women have the procedure. However, as many as 1,000 girls representing West African immigrant communities in the UK are thought to have undergone "breast ironing," according to cases that have also been documented there.

Even though the goal of "breast ironing" is to protect girls from unwanted sexual advances, the process can be painful both physically and emotionally.

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The act of "breast ironing" itself might cause girls to feel self-conscious about their body. Finally, "breast ironing" is unsuccessful since breast development is unaffected.

Although not always done by moms on their daughters, "breast ironing" is often done by a girl's mother or another female relative, but girls have occasionally "ironed" their own breasts.

The wounds from the hot tools can make women more prone to infections and lead to difficulties later in life. Some women who had their breasts "ironed" said that it was hard to nurse their babies and make milk afterward.

Mothers "iron" their daughters' breasts in Cameroon to reduce their girls' sexual attraction to men, prevent early pregnancies and marriages, and ensure that their daughters finish school.

Items use for the job.

Despite the mothers' best efforts, "breast ironing" is unlikely to address the more important, systemic problems that they are trying to address: gender inequality and violence against women.

Instead of trusting men to respect women's bodies and their choices, many mothers believe that in order to protect their children from men, they must make them less attractive.

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Africa

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