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Breast ironing: grim secret of Africa's women
Sydney Morning Herald ^ | 7/6/06 | Tansa Musa/Reuters

Posted on 07/06/2006 12:06:59 PM PDT by wagglebee

WORRIED that her daughters' budding breasts would expose them to the risk of sexual harassment and even rape, Philomene Moungang started "ironing" the girls' bosoms with a heated stone.

"I did it to my two girls when they were eight years old. I would take the grinding stone, heat it in the fire and press it hard on the breasts," the mother said. "They cried and said it was painful. But I explained that it was for their own good."

Breast "ironing" - the use of hard or heated objects to try to stunt breast growth in girls - is a traditional practice in West Africa, experts say.

A new survey has revealed it is shockingly widespread in Cameroon, where one in four teenagers are subjected to the traumatic process by relatives, often hoping to lessen their sexual attractiveness.

"Breast ironing is an age-old practice in Cameroon, as well as in many other countries in west and central Africa, including Chad, Togo, Benin, Guinea-Conakry, just to name a few," said Flavien Ndonko, an anthropologist for GTZ, a German development agency which sponsored the survey.

"If society has been silent about it up to now it is because, like other harmful practices done to women such as female genital mutilation, it was thought to be good for the girl," Dr Ndonko said. "Even the victims themselves thought it was good for them."

The practice has many side-effects, including severe pain and abscesses, infections, breast cancer, and even the complete disappearance of one or both breasts.

The survey of 5000 girls and women aged between 10 and 82 from Cameroon, published last month, estimated that 4 million women had suffered the process.

"When I was growing up as a little girl, my mother did it to me just as all other women in the village did it to their girl children," Mrs Moungang said. "So I thought it was just good for me to do to my own children."

The practice was less common in rural areas because mothers feared their children could be more exposed to sex abuse in towns and tried to suppress signs of sexuality, the survey said.

The practice is most common in the Christian and animist south of the country, rather than in the Muslim North and Far North provinces, where only 10 per cent of women are affected.

In 58 per cent of cases breast ironing was carried out by mothers, the survey found.

Many mothers were alarmed because improvements in nutrition and living conditions had caused young girls' breasts to develop earlier than ever.

The survey prompted a campaign to educate mothers about the practice's dangers. A similar campaign helped to reduce rates of female genital mutilation in Cameroon.

"A girl … must be proud of her breasts because they are natural," said a campaign leaflet. "They are a gift from God. Allow the breasts to grow naturally. Do not force them to disappear or appear."


TOPICS: Local News
KEYWORDS: africa; barbarianism; cameroon; culturaldiversity; humanrights; moralabsolutes; mutilation
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And yet we are supposed to accept that their culture is just "different" from ours but still acceptable.
1 posted on 07/06/2006 12:07:02 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: Alexander Rubin; An American In Dairyland; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; BIRDS; BlackElk; BlessedBeGod; ...
MORAL ABSOLUTES PING

DISCUSSION ABOUT:

Breast ironing: grim secret of Africa's women

This is barbaric.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To be included in or removed from the MORAL ABSOLUTES PINGLIST, please FReepMail wagglebee.

2 posted on 07/06/2006 12:08:31 PM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee

I hear the solution is to give all the women abortions on demand.

Oh, and free condoms for the men.


(No, there's no logic in the liberal solution.)


3 posted on 07/06/2006 12:08:56 PM PDT by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: wagglebee

"And yet we are supposed to accept that their culture is just "different" from ours but still acceptable."

That's right. Here, we put little girls into halter tops as soon as their breasts begin to show. That's much more sensible, I think. /sarc


4 posted on 07/06/2006 12:09:07 PM PDT by MineralMan (non-evangelical atheist)
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To: wagglebee

How awful! How do they ever feed their babies?


5 posted on 07/06/2006 12:09:40 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Hyperbolic rodomontade of the most puerile type." ~ Aaron Elkins)
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To: wagglebee

I feel really bad for the young girls caught up in these backward, ignorant, barbaric cultures. But the answer isn't to "tolerate" and "respect" the cultures as just one of the many "diverse" ways that human beings live. The answer is to eradicate the cultural practices, like the British clamped down on suttee in India.


6 posted on 07/06/2006 12:10:33 PM PDT by RepublicanPatriot
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To: wagglebee

Ah jeez! And I get all bent out of shape at the thought of a mammogram.


7 posted on 07/06/2006 12:11:32 PM PDT by CremeSaver
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To: wagglebee

Wow. I'm so thankful I don't live there (and that's not meant to be funny). How terrible.


8 posted on 07/06/2006 12:12:30 PM PDT by Lucky9teen (Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask why it doesn't.)
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To: wagglebee

Why not just bind 'em down with duct tape? Oh, there's no NAPA Stores over there? Never mind...


9 posted on 07/06/2006 12:13:39 PM PDT by butternut_squash_bisque (The recipe's at my FR HomePage. Try it!)
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: wagglebee
Who are we to pass judgment on their culture? /sarc
11 posted on 07/06/2006 12:14:01 PM PDT by NonValueAdded ("I'm all in favor of a dignified retirement: Why not try it on Kerry as a pilot program?" M. Steyn)
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To: wagglebee

The practice is most common in the Christian and animist south of the country, rather than in the Muslim North and Far North provinces, where only 10 per cent of women are affected.



Note the subtle statmemnts. Happens in Christian and animist part but not in the muslim part. Anyone have thoughts.................


12 posted on 07/06/2006 12:14:51 PM PDT by PeterPrinciple (Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: butternut_squash_bisque

not to mention that the process doesn't do a thing to dissuade "leg men" ...


13 posted on 07/06/2006 12:15:49 PM PDT by LN2Campy
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To: wagglebee

There appears to be little or no concern that this is being done by the moms out of concern because of the lusty vermin men who have the notion that any girl/woman they choose is theirs to be had at any point in time...


14 posted on 07/06/2006 12:16:50 PM PDT by Mrs. Darla Ruth Schwerin
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To: ma ja99

"Actually we have a mentality here that men cannot just take what they want. Women here are treated as human beings.The ones that don't face pounishment.The same might work there if they ever bother to hold men accountable for their behavior.
"

Did you not see the /sarc after my statement? I don't disagree with you. Young girls should never have to fear being raped or molested. Sadly, they do in some places...even in the United States, I fear.

Still, I believe that our habit of flaunting our collective daughters' sexual characteristics at a young age is a bad thing. Surely you've seen the pre-teens in little halter tops? That's just the opposite of what's going on over there in Africa, you see. That's why I said it, and that's why I added the /sarc.


15 posted on 07/06/2006 12:17:24 PM PDT by MineralMan (non-evangelical atheist)
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To: ma ja99

Before you can 'hold men accountable for their behavior', you have to hold their 'government' accountable for it's behavior.

Once they do that, the holding 'men' accountable will follow.


16 posted on 07/06/2006 12:17:28 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: Bigh4u2

the = then


17 posted on 07/06/2006 12:17:42 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
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To: LN2Campy

I like big butts & I cannot lie.
BREAK OUT THE HOT BUM STONES!!!


18 posted on 07/06/2006 12:17:42 PM PDT by Feiny (Now go bang your heads on your desks until something useful comes out!)
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To: wagglebee

OMG.


19 posted on 07/06/2006 12:18:24 PM PDT by rintense
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To: wagglebee
This is barbaric.

Getting raped is barbaric too.

20 posted on 07/06/2006 12:18:57 PM PDT by ladyjane
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To: ma ja99
The same might work there if they ever bother to hold men accountable for their behavior.

That's exactly right.

21 posted on 07/06/2006 12:20:32 PM PDT by HitmanLV ("5 Minute Penalty for #40, Ann Theresa Calvello!" - RIP 1929-2006)
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To: LN2Campy

LOL! Or *butt watchers*, either!


22 posted on 07/06/2006 12:20:48 PM PDT by butternut_squash_bisque (The recipe's at my FR HomePage. Try it!)
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To: MineralMan

This story is beyond horrid. I knew about clitoral mutilations, but not this....what sort of backwards freaks even think to do that?


23 posted on 07/06/2006 12:21:55 PM PDT by Feiny (Now go bang your heads on your desks until something useful comes out!)
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To: feinswinesuksass

"This story is beyond horrid. I knew about clitoral mutilations, but not this....what sort of backwards freaks even think to do that?"




I don't know. Here's something from the article:

"The practice is most common in the Christian and animist south of the country, rather than in the Muslim North and Far North provinces, where only 10 per cent of women are affected."


24 posted on 07/06/2006 12:27:13 PM PDT by MineralMan (non-evangelical atheist)
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To: feinswinesuksass

Q: How awful! How do they ever feed their babies?



A: Feeding the babies just leads to dead/starving 2 year olds.. when these people learn to feed themselves I'll dance a jig..


25 posted on 07/06/2006 12:31:18 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
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To: PeterPrinciple
Note the subtle statmemnts. Happens in Christian and animist part but not in the muslim part. Anyone have thoughts............

Christian chriches do not have the threat of the sword behind them to enforce Christian morality.

26 posted on 07/06/2006 12:40:24 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Peace begins in the womb.)
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To: LN2Campy

"Why would I be a 'leg man'? I HAVE legs."
~Jerry Seinfeld


27 posted on 07/06/2006 12:42:14 PM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Rugged individualists of the world, unite!)
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To: ma ja99
Women here are treated as human beings.

Indeed. The Western concept of the worth of the individual is based upon the Judaic tradition as transmitted through Christianity. Unfortunately, Western culture has greatly rejected its tradition of self-respect (personal modesty), and has sexualized its children.

28 posted on 07/06/2006 12:44:29 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Peace begins in the womb.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

chriches = churches


29 posted on 07/06/2006 12:44:58 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Peace begins in the womb.)
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To: MineralMan
our habit of flaunting our collective daughters' sexual characteristics at a young age is a bad thing

AMEN! It calls to mind how many mommies take their little girls to Glamor Shots, paint them up, friz their hair, have them pout suggestively into the camera, and shoot pictures of them.

It disgusts me to see a child painted up like a hooker.

30 posted on 07/06/2006 12:46:35 PM PDT by Humidston (Congress is like the Mafia - NO PAY, NO PLAY.)
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To: PeterPrinciple
Anyone have thoughts.................

Sure, you see, the Northern Muslims only mutilate female genitals...none of this dizgusting 'breast ironing' business. (/src)

~GCR~

31 posted on 07/06/2006 12:50:06 PM PDT by GoldCountryRedneck ("The Clintons... are the hemorrhoids on the body politic." <- FReeper firehat)
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To: Jeff Chandler
chriches = churches

And in some respects...churches = crutches.
32 posted on 07/06/2006 12:54:19 PM PDT by Lucky9teen (Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask why it doesn't.)
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To: Humidston

What bothers me if little 4 and 5 year old girls wearing belly shirts and little shorts or pants with words written across their bum. Why?


33 posted on 07/06/2006 12:55:15 PM PDT by Lucky9teen (Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask why it doesn't.)
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To: Lucky9teen
And in some respects...churches = crutches.

I gladly use that crutch. All the time.

34 posted on 07/06/2006 12:55:15 PM PDT by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings...Modesty hides my thighs in her wings...)
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To: Humidston

What bothers me is little 4 and 5 year old girls wearing belly shirts and little shorts or pants with words written across their bum. Why?


35 posted on 07/06/2006 12:55:21 PM PDT by Lucky9teen (Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask why it doesn't.)
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To: Lucky9teen
And in some respects...churches = crutches.

To some.

36 posted on 07/06/2006 12:56:55 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Peace begins in the womb.)
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To: wagglebee
Dear Lord. *shakes head*

Where are our feminist? Resting and feeling smug in their glass towers? Where's Laura Bush? She spoke out for Afghani women ruled by the taliban.

37 posted on 07/06/2006 12:57:53 PM PDT by processing please hold (If you can't stand behind our military, stand in front of them.)
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To: Lucky9teen
And in some respects...churches = crutches.

Which is appropriate, since man is irrevocably broken by sin. Though Christ is the great physician, he has left the community of believers to minister to one another until his return.

38 posted on 07/06/2006 1:00:20 PM PDT by MrEdd (Bad spellers of the world - UNTIE!,)
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To: Lucky9teen
What bothers me is little 4 and 5 year old girls wearing belly shirts and little shorts or pants with words written across their bum. Why?

People don't understand the responsibilities of parenthood. They think their children are extensions of themselves and they are guided by popular culture instead of traditional morality (as taught by the Church). They don't allow their children to be children by protecting them from the sexualization rampant in secular culture.

39 posted on 07/06/2006 1:00:44 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Peace begins in the womb.)
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To: Lucky9teen; Humidston

Because their parents are a) lazy, b) trashy, or c) their daughter's "best friend."


40 posted on 07/06/2006 1:02:26 PM PDT by Xenalyte (I want you to remember this face. This is the guy behind the guy behind the guy.)
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To: MrEdd

Understandably and I agree to a degree. However, there are those who love to preach, but don't practice what they preach. That was my point. :)


41 posted on 07/06/2006 1:03:27 PM PDT by Lucky9teen (Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask why it doesn't.)
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To: Xenalyte

It's really sad too that parents do that, kind of living through their children. It so hurts the child for the future, imo.

My brother and sister-in-law do that with my 4 year old neice. They aren't involved in the church and it shows. We pray for them all the time. Although my brother was raised believing in God and going to church and all that, he has fallen away because it's just not important to him and his wife doesn't know much and seems cut off from wanting to know.

Meanwhile, their kids will suffer as they don't guide them with God's will, imo. And I can already see my sister-in-law is forming a "best friend" type thing with my neice, with what she subjects her to (TV programming for teens (not little kids), the clothes she wears, verbage she uses, etc.). What ever happened to kids being kids? Why do they have to grow up so damn fast?

As parents, we're responsible for the future of our country, and our children are that future.


42 posted on 07/06/2006 1:09:43 PM PDT by Lucky9teen (Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask why it doesn't.)
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To: wagglebee

Breast ironing.....I tried it but the wrinkles are still there.


43 posted on 07/06/2006 1:10:01 PM PDT by colorcountry ( Run with scissors???? I can barely jog my memory)
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To: wagglebee
"This is barbaric."

It would be if it were indeed true.
Been to both Togo and Benin Republic.
Never saw or even heard of any such practice.
Even dated a lady or two from Togo, and their breasts were as juicy and hot as any I have seen.
I am always very skeptical of Europeans going to Africa, and coming back with tall tales
44 posted on 07/06/2006 1:10:51 PM PDT by Jameison
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To: wagglebee

Good holy crap! These folks are unreal. How do they expect these girls to nurse their young?


45 posted on 07/06/2006 1:10:55 PM PDT by TheSpottedOwl (If you don't understand the word "Illegal", then the public school system has failed you.)
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To: colorcountry
I tried it but the wrinkles are still there.

Try a little magic sizing, or starch. You may need to turn them inside out for best results.

Well it was how I used to get my uniforms to pass inspection...

46 posted on 07/06/2006 1:15:12 PM PDT by MrEdd (Bad spellers of the world - UNTIE!,)
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To: wagglebee

Why not TEACH the men in their culture not to RAPE!! Instead these people torture their female children because a barbarian male COULD do something to them. SICK....SICK society...uncivilized.


47 posted on 07/06/2006 1:18:23 PM PDT by Suzy Quzy ("When Cabals Go Kaboom"....upcoming book on Mary McCarthy's Coup-Plotters.)
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To: wagglebee
And I thought this was bad.

That's just barbaric.

48 posted on 07/06/2006 1:23:50 PM PDT by CougarGA7 (There are no trophies for winning wars. Only consequences for losing them.)
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To: wagglebee
The practice has many side-effects, including severe pain and abscesses, infections, breast cancer, and even the complete disappearance of one or both breasts.

Presumably loss of ability to breast-feed too.

This is a much more extreme version of a common practice in this country in the 1920s, when it was fashionable for girls/women to be flat-chested, and many bound their breasts tightly every day. Probably made them droop early, but since they didn't sleep that way, and certainly weren't burning anything, it probably didn't do any serious damage. My grandmother and her sister both did this.

49 posted on 07/06/2006 2:40:45 PM PDT by GovernmentShrinker
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To: wagglebee
This is barbaric.

Just wondering...Do you suppose there are some cultures that believe it's just as barbaric to cut off the working end of a penis?

At the same time, I agree with you. But then again, I'm a "boob man."

50 posted on 07/06/2006 3:20:53 PM PDT by Living Free in NH
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