I just learned about a practice in Cameroon called breast ironing. It is where the family of a young girl who is starting to develop breasts will take a grinding tool, heat it and “iron” the girls breasts. It is a painful practice meant to prevent her breasts from growing larger. And it is preformed by parents who are worried about their daughters being raped or assaulted. Apparently many men in the culture think that it is okay to have sex with a woman, or girl, simply because she has visible breasts.
This is a terrifying practice. It is painful and it can cause permanent damage to the girl. But it’s also terrifying that parents find it necessary to hurt their children in order to keep them safe. These girls are seen as sexual objects and not as people. That is not okay. These girls deserve to know that they will be able to go to school and get a good education, and that they will not be raped and forced to marry at a young age. They deserve to know that they can grow up and be who they want to be. Instead they grow up knowing that large breasts are bad and that men will violate them if they do something as provocative as walking the street while having breasts. Hopefully these girls will not always live in a culture where they are second class citizens.