Cameroon: Breast Ironing Continues to be a Problem
Thursday, December 19, 2013 7:40 PM

Although the practice has decreased, it is estimated that 1.3 million girls are still victims of breast ironing in Cameroon. Breast ironing is the practice of placing hot stones on pubescent girls’ breasts.The practice was first uncovered during a 2005 survey on rape and incest. Since then a nationwide campaign has led to a 50 percent reduction in the practice. Mothers indicate they continue breast ironing as a means to protect their daughters from rape, premarital sex, and early pregnancy. Sometimes girls perform the process on themselves so that they are able to go to school longer. It is a relatively new practice that began in the 1930s when people began moving from rural areas to the cities. Although it is unknown how widespread the practice is in the world, it is known to be carried out in Cameroon and other West African countries.

Compiled from: Hussain, Misha and Naouanke, Anne, In Cameroon, women "iron" daughters' breasts to ward off men, Thomson Reuters Foundation, (December 17, 2013).