Breast Ironing Tradition Targeted in Cameroon

Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, July 28, 2011

Every morning before school, nine-year-old Terisia Techu would undergo a painful procedure. Her mother would take a burning hot pestle straight out of a fire and use it to press her breasts.

With tears in her eyes as she recalls what it was like, Terisia tells CNN that one day the pestle was so hot, it burned her, leaving a mark. Now 18, she is still traumatized.

Her mother, Grace, denies the incident. But she proudly demonstrates the method she used on her daughter for several weeks, saying the goal was to make her less desirable to boys–and stave off pregnancy.

A study found that one in four girls in Cameroon have been affected by the practice.

The U.S. State Department, in its 2010 human rights report on Cameroon, cited news reports and said breast ironing “victimized numerous girls in the country” and in some cases “resulted in burns, deformities, and psychological problems.”

There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Cameroon with different norms and customs. Breast ironing is practiced by all of them.

Some mothers use hot stones or coconut shells to flatten their daughters’ breasts.

{snip}

Techu has four daughters, and she used the procedure on the first two. The third avoided it because her breasts are growing at an acceptable rate, Techu says, and the fourth girl is still too young.

Mothers who want their children to finish school before becoming parents have resorted to this drastic measure, and many see nothing wrong with it.

{snip}

Now, charities have embarked on campaigns to educate mothers in Cameroon that sex education–not breast ironing–is the solution to ending teenage pregnancy.

{snip}

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  • Anonymous

    Why in the world should we be concerned about these ignorant practices?

    Do these mothers know how women get pregnant? That pregnancy involves another part of the body? That a man has to be involved? Does the fertility goddess just shower down fertile eggs? Maybe a devil creeps around at night getting women pregnant.

    Many and varied have been the birth control devices used by humans through the ages, but torture is a strange one.

    Or is this just the standard African and African American child abuse disguised as “it’s good for her”. Even those so called middle class $70,000 per year government employee blacks defend horrific beatings as normal discipline. The black female head of my department uses a baseball bat on her 12 year old son. If you work with blacks I am sure you have heard them defend whippings with belts and electric cords.

    I saw John McCain’s wife on TV last night. Cindy McCain and actor Dan Affleck have formed a new taxpayer funded do gooder group. The group claims that rape is rampant in whatever Congo calls itself now. Supposedly 2 out of 3 Congo women have been raped. Supposedly most of the rape victims have been raped many times.

    There was Cindy on TV. She said not a word about the Congo men who actually committed the rapes. She wants tax payer money to end the rapes. She wants the UN to end the rapes. How giving money to Ben Affleck and Cindy McCain will end rape in the Congo I can’t imagine. Ms McCain had no plans on how to prevent rape in Congo. I really can’t stand TV anymore. Half the shows feature these liberal crusades.

  • ProudtobeWhite

    They see nothing wrong with female genital mutilation, either! Tell me again about moral equivalency among the races….

  • Anonymous

    Wikipedia says Cultural Relativism “is the principle that an individual human’s beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual’s own culture. This principle was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and later popularized by his students. Boas first articulated the idea in 1887: ‘…civilization is not something absolute, but … is relative, and … our ideas and conceptions are true only so far as our civilization goes.'”

    Who am I to judge, right? Except judge I do, and I judge this practice barbaric. That feminists in the West aren’t speaking of atrocities like this night and day – instead of winging about photographs of women in magazine adverts – is a measure of their own moral bankruptcy.

    Cameroon was a colony of various European nations from 1884 to 1960. How much breast ironing was going on then?

  • Anonymous

    People in Cameroon can do whatever they feel is right for them. That is none of our business. Just stop importing them into our country.

  • Taurus689

    Here we go again. How many more of these stories have to come to light before every civilized American understands that these creatures do not NEED to be in our society.

    As for Cindy Mc Cain and Ben Affleck, if you’re going to Africa, go to S. Africa and raise awareness of the plight of the Boers who are being systematically and atrociously tormented by Blacks.

  • TomSwift

    You must remember that Africa’s girls are more likely to be raped then learn how to read.

    I imagine the logic goes something like this: “Let’s make our daughter less beautiful because the prettiest one gets raped and she won’t get to graduate school”

    Teaching the girls to not have sex (or use birth control) isn’t going to help if they don’t have a choice anyway.

  • Sylvie

    Well, okay, I can see that this ‘breast-ironing’ thing is strange, weird, probably rather painful, but most of all, completely bloody stupid! However, as poster 1 said, why should we be bothered by what these people in Cameroon do? Why should I even care? Even if I did, what can I do down here in Australia?

    Oh that’s right, give money, more and more of my hard-earned money to prevent silly mothers in Cameroon (which most people would not have even heard of) from flattening their daughters’ emerging breasts in some bizarre ‘profylactic tactic.’

    The tactic probably doesn’t even work, but on they go, flattening away!

    I can just imagine the female activist crusader in Cameroon. She’d look a like a weekend hippy, be rather tall and most likely rather good-looking and she’d have a Scandanavian surname.

    Good luck with it and there’s plenty more third-world practices to fight when you’ve finished with this one!

  • AM

    Here comes the neighborhood! These poor, oppressed, victims will obviously need to be relocated to a nice Western country where they can be safe from these barbaric practices. Except that once we take them in we must praise their culture and accomodate their traditions. And if those traditions includes breast burning or female circumcision, well, then we must embrace their rich traditions and proud cultural rites. Diversity is strength! (War is peace, up is down, etc.)

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Another story of torture and sexual mutilation out of Africa? YAWN!

    If you work with blacks I am sure you have heard them defend whippings with belts and electric cords.

    Yes, it was common, and even bragged about!! (even though they believe WE Whites mistreat our own children). Where I was, extension cords were the weapon of choice (not that it helped, nothing corrects black malfeasance).

    The beating were merciless.

    I saw John McCain’s wife on TV last night. Cindy McCain and actor Dan Affleck have formed a new taxpayer funded do gooder group. The group claims that rape is rampant in whatever Congo calls itself now. Supposedly 2 out of 3 Congo women have been raped. Supposedly most of the rape victims have been raped many times.

    Terrible cause to sink money into! A rat hole. Soon there will be calls to bring “victims of ironing” into the US as the latest black refugee lottery winners — US government benefits for life! For you and 90 members of your extended “family” in perpetuity! AND the chance to harass and attack the Whites who are responsible for your poverty, misery, torture….

    Would that I had the McCain’s money — I would use it to help REAL victims — Whites in South Africa who are being systematically raped, hacked apart and slaughtered by blacks in a planned genocide.

    THEY’RE the REAL Victims!!

    Bon

  • Anonymous

    I just saw an episode of It’s Me or the Dog where Victoria Stillwell was called to a house where a Black gay couple have an overly aggressive Yorkshire Terrier.

    These two guys were somewhat swishy but very nice and seemed to have lots of class.

    In one of the segments they had other Black gay friends visiting who were also quite civilized and it was obvious that Victoria had nothing to fear from these two guys.

    If the theory that gay men are gay from birth can be scientifically demonstrated to be true, then I think that we’ve found the answer to the problem of atrocious, violent behavior on the part of Black males. If we could isolate the gene and install it in Black male embryos, the problem would be eliminated.

  • Anonymous

    10 — Anonymous at 10:22 AM on July 29:

    Except that you forget–Victoria wasn’t alone in the house with these black men. She was there with a camera crew, makeup artists and probably 35 other various members of her entourage who were off-camera, but present for one thing or another.

  • Anonymous

    Ok Ms. McCain… If you live in the Congo in a hut in a small village for 4 yrs I will give you 20 bucks.

    You know all these bizarre practices…. well we don’t live in black societies where people consider rape normal. At first I thought women wearing burkhas was insane, then I realized… with their black and brown societies this is required. These men have no self control and are violent.

    We have let Africans into our country. then we flooded it with brown Mexicans and Arabs. Its time for American women to wear burkhas and iron their breasts. Yep. thank you Mr. Kennedy. Thank you Congress for ignoring the will of Americans for 40 yrs while the country died. Now you cant balance the budget. Gee wonder why? 600 billion for jails each year? 1 trillion for war. Gee no wonder.

  • Anonymous

    6 — TomSwift wrote at 11:03 PM on July 28:

    “You must remember that Africa’s girls are more likely to be raped then learn how to read.

    I imagine the logic goes something like this: “Let’s make our daughter less beautiful because the prettiest one gets raped and she won’t get to graduate school”

    Teaching the girls to not have sex (or use birth control) isn’t going to help if they don’t have a choice anyway.”

    This reminds me that the custom of mutilating women in some African tribes is very old. Stretched necks, plates in lips, etc., were all done to make the women undesirable to raiding tribes. But there must be a better way to protect your women than mutilating them. Perhaps mutilating helpless girls is easier than fighting or even protesting?

    When Julius Caesar invaded Gaul, the reports were that Celtic women were of “exceeding beauty.” The boon to slave trading due to this was a boon to the Roman economy at the time. As a result, the Gauls, when battle was hopeless, would kill themselves, rather than be taken slaves; The men would commit suicide on the battlefield, and the women killed the children, and then themselves.

    Christianity made suicide a sin, and for a good reason; Early Christians were making suicide attacks on Roman soldiers, expecting to be in paradise in the instant of their death. This brought the early Christian movement a great deal of trouble, including being used for sport in the arena. In reality, Pagan Rome simply got a bit of entertainment value for what was going on anyway. But thanks to this earlier history, Western society looks at death by suicide not as noble, as everyone, including Romans did in ancient times, but as a wrong. I agree with this value because we cannot despair as our fore-bearers did. Where there is life, there is always hope. We cannot be lazy or despairing, but keep pointing out the hypocrisy of the times and our right to survive, at least on par with a dolphin or polar bear.

  • Anonymous 10

    11 — Anonymous wrote at 11:25 AM on July 29:

    10 — Anonymous at 10:22 AM on July 29:

    “Except that you forget—Victoria wasn’t alone in the house with these black men. She was there with a camera crew, makeup artists and probably 35 other various members of her entourage who were off-camera, but present for one thing or another.:

    Hey 11,

    I’m well aware if that. My point was that she would most likely have nothing to fear from those two guys regardless.

    These guys were authentic gays and not bruthas on the “down low”.

  • Flytrap

    So black men are generally responsible for all the elder rapes, are usually who you see with white women and will willfully sleep with one another in a prison cell. But breast ironing is going to cure their permanent tumescence. Uh-huh. Buzzard feathers and hyena blood will work better.

  • Anonymoose

    Extreme times call for extreme measures. The most likely explanation is that breast banding sends notice that someone is watching out for the girl. The issue is not that it makes her physically undesirable, but that it presents a psychological barrier to would be seducers and assailants.

    The mothers who do this are acting brutally in brutal world, but it probably works.

  • Cosmo

    When will we as whites learn we can’t change the way the whole world thinks or chooses to live?

    These throwbacks have lived this way for thousands of years and they do not want to change.

    Even in America it should be very obvious blacks have a way of life we as whites find repulsive but it is the way they choose to live and they will never change to our way of thinking.

    I think WHITES better start worrying more about WHITES before it is too late!

    Isn’t it obvious that even many of the blacks in America are at war with us and are proud of the casualties they create?

  • Harlet O’

    The U.S. State Department, in its 2010 human rights report on Cameroon, said breast ironing “victimized numerous girls in the country” and in some cases “resulted in burns, deformities, and psychological problems.”

    There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Cameroon with different norms and customs. Breast ironing is practiced by all of them.

    ____________________

    Oh, goody! That makes one more victimized group that we can bring to this country as human rights refugees.

    Get ready, Iowa and Maine, for your new contingent of Cameroonian refugees. (Doesn’t it just make you feel all tingly inside to know how virtuous you are?)

    Of course, once they get here, we’ll have to respect their culture and customs. All cultures being equal, we mustn’t start thinking we’re superior or something.