Breast Ironing is the process by which young pubescent girls’ breasts are ironed, massaged or pounded down through the use of hard or heated objects for non-medical reasons.
It is usually being done to delay the breasts from growing, so she does not attract male attention.
It is often done by the child’s mother, aunt, grandmother or someone known who will undertake the breast ironing, which usually involves heating a stone, a spoon or wooden pestle normally used for pounding tubers. Other tools used include leaves, bananas, coconut shells, grinding stones, ladles, spatulas, and hammers heated over coals or on a flame then pressing, massaging or flattening the breast. This process can go on for months.
It is believed that by carrying out this act, young girls will be protected from harassment, rape, abduction and early forced marriage and therefore be kept in education.
Similarly to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), breast ironing is classified also as physical abuse.
It is stated that Breast Ironing affects 3.8 million women around the world and has been identified as one of the five under-reported crimes relating to gender-based violence.
This process has a lot of Physical effects which includes tissue damage, infection, dissymmetry of the breasts, abscesses, cysts, itching, the discharge of milk, severe fever, and even the complete disappearance of one or both breasts, just not there, it also affects the mental state which may result in anxiety and depression.
Studies have found that “breast ironing” is practised mostly in Chad, Guinea Bissau, Togo, and Benin, it is most common in Cameroon and West Africa but not much familiar in India.
Some sections of IPC can be booked for this crime but at the same time awareness is very crucial to stop this painful crime.
Like FGM breast ironing also VIOLETS the Rights of Women.