It’s like there is no single day, that ends without any shocking news from the world around. Educating a potential rapist/molester or ruling out extreme punishments to the criminals may result in the reduction of the crime rate. Logical enough? But can putting young souls, (also considered as probable victims) into hideous barbaric act, yield the desired benefit? Call it inhumane, call it evil or vicious, every synonym of it seems like not enough to describe this procedure of keeping away the rapists!
When the world is crying for gender equality, estimated 3.8 million women undergo this heinous practices of ‘breast ironing’. Wondering what is it? Let me tell you this is not just a tradition but a regular implementation on the girls who are in the pre-stage of puberty.
This insane activity involves flattening of little developing breasts of young girls, ‘to protect them from rape or any sexual harassment’! It is a traditional practice where the breasts are pressed with stone, hammer or a spatula which is pre-heated on the hot coals to stop the breast development.
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According to the report by United Nations:
- Practise is widely spread in West African countries such as Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Togo, Benin, Guinea-Conakry, East and Central Africa.
- In Cameroon, up to 50% of girls as young as 10 years old, undergo this terribly painful breast ironing on a daily basis.
- Breast Ironing is one of the five under-reported crimes relating to gender-based violence: UNFPA
- It is just like FGM – Female genital mutilation, a form of child abuse
Truth which hurts more is, this tradition, no less than a crime is majorly perpetrated by the mother’s of the young girls. The little girls are told, it is for their good, to protect them from any inappropriate sexual activities and to facilitate their education. Elders who follow and support this act says it is to stop unwanted male attention and to prevent teenage pregnancies.
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Enforcing the cruel tradition, which also has no logic leaves a girl in traumatic condition. It destroys her womanhood, the very essential body part by which they are defined. Having gone through such abuse, women are prone to risks and health problems like infections, cancer, permanent tissue damage and at times it stops the breast development completely leaving the woman into despair and disappointment for life.
Though UN Women London is working for the awareness amongst the people, I wonder, as people has labelled it with the name of Tradition, will it be easier for them to eradicate this brutal act? How on this earth can people punish a little girl just to slip off male’s lustful attention? Can’t they educate their men? Why don’t they specifically punish the criminals?
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