Thursday, August 17, 2006

CAMEROON: Campaign Launched to Counter 'Breast Ironing'

Arash- I recieved an email from a dear friend and human rights activist , Elaheh Amani, regarding breast ironing in Africa and I would like to share it with all of you.

Breast Ironing is one of the many forms of body modification which is widely being practiced in some of the African counties specifically Cameroon. This brutal and harmful cultural practice is currently inflicted on 25% of all girls in Cameroon. An additional 3.8 million girls are also at risk of breast ironing. According to BBC News many mothers and female relatives in Cameroon support the practice despite the fact that it is unlawful and they face a three year prison sentence, because they believe, detracting attention from sexuality means more attention to education for girls. The following is an article and a recent interview of AWID ( Association of Women's Rights in Development ) Resource Net with Bessem Arrey Ebanga Bissong that can shed some light on this harmful practice. Breast Ironing is one of the concerns of women in Africa under the category of health and reproductive rights. Bodily integrity is a women's human rights!

p.s. while reading this interview, I reflected at the dichotomy of our world. In America, breast augmentation /implant among young women are increasing at an alarming rate. Between 1992 and 2004 the number of the augmentation surgeries performed on girls ages 18 and younger has increased 293 percent.

you can read the entire article here.

this is disturbing. the world must be informed better about these abuses.
Unfortunately, calling this issue an "abuse" will not make it go away. It is a safe assumption that the individuals employing this practice are extremely impoverished and uneducated. Until women can have access to education- anything from literacy to biology- young girls will fall prey to tradition. African villagers are practicing a custom that they do not understand the physiological aftermaths of. It is the job of NGOs or a UN commission to promote better information or funding to draw attention to this matter.

Arash, it was very good of you to point out that in our "modern" way of life, teenage girls can ask for breast implants as a graduation present. Sexual mutiliation can be defined very broadly, from male circumcisions to the latest craze of "vaginal rejuvination."
wow this was an eye opening post.
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