Saturday, June 24, 2006

'Breast ironing' widespread in traditional Cameroon.

I was shocked to read in the news that in some rural areas in Cameroon, overly possessive mothers and aunties actually try to prevent their daughters and nieces from giving in to the advances of young boys or grown men who see them as potential sexual partners.
So young girls who hit puberty early and start developping breasts and other female attributes will be seen as easy targets for men, and their breasts will be literally "hacked off" using some un-orthodox methods.
In some cases young girls will mutilate themselves with such horrific practices just to fit in. Or to avoid going through it forcibly by members of their family.
The most widely used instrument to flatten the breasts is a wooden pestle, used for pounding tubers in the kitchen. Heated bananas and coconut shells are also used.

There are some good news though. Although the practice is widespread, it's actually punishable by law. That is only if the matter is reported within months. Which means that if the young girl is intimidated by their torturer and has to wait until she heals, the authorities may not do anything about it. However with a doctor's report they can always file some sort of complaint.
Also some teenage girls have gotten together and formed the "Association of Aunties" to launch a campain with the main focus of exposing the practice and it's potential permanent damages.

What a world!!

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