We had never heard about the custom of breast ironing before watching the documentary television series Taboo, which provided an in-depth view into the practice. Breast ironing is mostly practiced in Cameroon, and is described as either the pounding or massaging of young girl’s breasts often with a heated object (such as a wooden pestle) in order to stop or slow the growth of breasts.
This practice is usually carried out by the mother and is said to help prevent sexual abuse and rape, as well as keep young girls in school for as long as possible. It is believed that breast development signal sexual maturity and readiness for sex, and therefore breast ironing may prevent men to sexually assault young Cameroon girls. Breast ironing is however extremely painful and often lead to a multitude of side effects, such as tissue damage, breast cancer and cysts, and may interfere with breast feeding at a later age. [Read more...]