CNN: Worried About Rape, Women Iron Girls' Breasts
This is a painful and physical side effect of victim blaming. Education about the harm that this practice can do to a girl's body needs to be supported by education about the harm that rape does to a person (male or female) so potential victims aren't left trying to make themselves less attractive targets.
A new survey has revealed it is shockingly widespread in Cameroon, where one in four teenagers are subjected to the traumatic process by relatives, often hoping to lessen their sexual attractiveness.
"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, which sponsored the survey.
"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.
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