Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/26/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Barbaric practice mutilates women in order to keep them chaste

A Medieval, barbaric practice known as "breast ironing" is widely practiced in Cameroon. As many as one in four girls are routinely tortured by female relatives in an ill-advised practice to keep them from inciting male lust.

Breast ironing is widely practiced throughout Cameroon, particularly in the center and west of the country. This practice exists among the rich families -- as well as the poor.

Breast ironing is widely practiced throughout Cameroon, particularly in the center and west of the country. This practice exists among the rich families -- as well as the poor.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/26/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Cameroon, breast ironing, mutilation, body image, tradition


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The practice usually occurs during puberty. Female relatives of the young girl, sometimes even their own mothers, try to make their putative breasts disappear by crushing them. Families believe this "protects" the girls from experiencing their sexuality too soon.
 
Called the "ironing" or "massaging" of the breasts, as it is sometimes euphemistically called, has also been reported in Togo and Guinea.

"A lot of women become worried when their daughter reaches puberty around the age of eight or nine. They consider this to be too early," Executive Secretary of Renata Georgette Arrey Taky says. Renata is a national network of young mothers that teaches sexual education to Cameroonian women.
 
Breast ironing is widely practiced throughout Cameroon, particularly in the center and west of the country. This practice exists among the rich families -- as well as the poor.
 
"The reason why breast ironing is so rooted in our customs is because the mothers who endured it were told by their own mothers that it was to protect them. They therefore repeat the gesture to protect their own daughters. It's a vicious circle that survives through ignorance more than tradition," one survivor says.
 
Many mothers here are concerned when their daughter reaches puberty around the age of eight or nine. They consider this age to be too early and therefore believed that their daughter will attract boys and risk becoming pregnant too early.

Most of the girls are "massaged" when they are 15 or 16 years old. By making their breasts disappear, the mothers believe they can control the girls' effect on men. Dispelling this belief very quickly is the fact that very young mothers also sport ironed breasts. 

Women's rights groups are working to convince parents that effective sex education can only be achieved through dialogue.
 
"Women, usually mothers or aunts, use spatulas, stones and even pestles," one activist says.
 
Spatulas, stones or even pestles are heated up and struck against the developing breast. The strike leads to burns as well as infections and cysts. The long-term consequences are no less detrimental.

According to a few specialists, the victims are more susceptible to breast cancer. Damaged breasts become the source of body image issues. "I met a girl who doesn't even dare to take her clothes off in front of her friends," one activist says.

.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Africa

'God told me to cut off children's heads and bring them to him...': Ivory Coast children kidnapped and brutally butchered in suspected ritual killings Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"God told me to do this. God told me to cut off children's heads and bring them to him and then I would be made king," stated Drissa Coulibaly after being caught hacking at two young boys with a machete in Yopougon, a suburb of Abidjan. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Outraged Egyptians confront government over mysterious death of human rights activist Watch

Image of Egyptian human rights activist Chaimaa Sabbagh was killed on Thursday during a rally celebrating the fourth anniversary of the uprising that ousted former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

By Kaci Racelma, Catholic Online

On Thursday, a crowd of women gathered in Cairo to demand an investigation into the death of Chaimaa Sabbagh, a human rights activist who spoke against the dictatorial regime that took over Egypt after the ousting of former leader Hosni Mubarak. ALGEIRS, ALGERIA ... continue reading


Thrilling nature video shows two leopards taking down warthog Watch

Image of An employee at Londolozi private reserve in Sabi Sands, the photographer and his party encountered the first leopard waiting for the warthog to emerge from its hole during an early morning drive.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A "once in a lifetime sighting" of two leopards battling over a warthog has been captured by a game ranger. Working on a private reserve to the west of South Africa's Kruger National park, Simon Smit has shared his incredible footage online. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Elusive African golden cat is caught hunting monkeys in extremely rare camera trap video Watch

Image of The African golden cat is the least known and most elusive cat on Earth.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rare footage of the African golden cat provides more insight into the mysterious life of one of the least known cats on earth. Recorded by a camera trap, the elusive wild cat is seen hunting in the broad daylight of Kibale National Park in Uganda. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Following Tripoli hotel attack, African Union mulls military intervention Watch

Image of Libya's capital, Tripoli, is controlled by several militant groups as well as the Libyan government.

By Kaci Racelma, Catholic Online

The deteriorating situation in Libya appears to have the African Union seriously concerned, following a deadly attack on a hotel in Tripoli which left nine people dead, including five foreigners. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - The African Union's ... continue reading


1,000 CHURCHES DESTROYED! Fear of more Muslim attacks on Christianity escalate during Nigerian election Watch

Image of Christians often have to face brutal violence from Muslims, just because they're Christians.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Muslim persecution of Christians is unfortunately not something new for those in Nigeria, a population made up of half Muslim and half Christian people. Their upcoming presidential election awakens more fear in Nigerian Christians; the outcome of the election can put ... continue reading


If you could save a child from a life of war and violence would you? What about 3,000? U.N. secures release of South Sudan child soldiers Watch

Image of Child soldiers are heavily used in Africa, especially among rebel groups, in which these children are conscripted to fight by force.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United Nations has taken another step in its role as a demobilizer and protector of conscripted child soldiers, securing a promise from South Sudan to release about 3,000 former child soldiers, an act which the U.N. labeled "one of the largest ever ... continue reading


GRISLY HUMAN HARVEST: Tanzania's albinos are hunted down and mutilated for witch doctor potions Watch

Image of Albinos here are regularly attacked by people who chop their limbs off, leaving them severely mutilated or dead.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Albinism, a condition that robs the body of pigments, affects a small section of the population. In the African nation of Tanzania, however, albinos are prized for their body parts - said to bring luck according to local witch doctors. This has led to ... continue reading


JOINING FORCES: Algeria and Niger work together over national security Watch

Image of Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Niger's head of state Mohamadou Issoufou, pictured, have joined forces on security issues.

By Kaci Racelma, Catholic Online

Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Niger's head of state Mohamadou Issoufou have joined forces on security issues. A three-day visit, begun this past weekend allowed the two countries to agree on further cooperation. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Boko Haram closes in! Nigeria loses critical military city to the savage terrorism group Watch

Image of Boko Haram takes control of strategic Nigerian city on it's path to attacking Maiduguri.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Boko Haram seized control of Nigerian city, Monguno on January 25, after launching a simultaneous attack on Monguno and the capital of Borno, Maiduguri. Both cities are in the corner of Nigeria, near the borders of Chad and Cameroon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 18:15-20
15 Yahweh your God will raise up a prophet like me; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Come, let us cry out with joy to Yahweh, acclaim ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 1:21-28
21 They went as far as Capernaum, and at once on the ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 7:32-35
32 I should like you to have your minds free from all ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 1st, 2015 Image

St. Brigid of Ireland
February 1: Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter