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Bernice Angoh Lakota

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Breast Ironing
by Bernice Angoh Lakota   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2008

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(I hope someday this ends)



I have heard of female genital mutilation, neck elongation and all kinds of weird cultural practices from several parts of the world and Africa but never thought that someday, I‘d hear of one coming from my own country Cameroon.
It is a shame that in this date and time people are still very ignorant about so many different things. I know that every culture should be respected but there are certain things that are just too cruel to conceive.
In Africa and Cameroon to be precise so many parents fear that their young girls would turn up pregnant before they marry or finish school. I remember my mother used to tell me, when I was eight, that if I shook hands with a boy, I’d get pregnant. Thank goodness she told me that. I believed it so much that I didn’t even want a boy to look at me, much less touch me! I had my very first kiss when I was 19 years old and it was a moment to treasure for someone who’d thought would get pregnant by shaking the hand of someone of the opposite sex.
Well, thank goodness I didn’t get pregnant! I was wise enough to know and thankful that I had a great mom who started to talk to us about sex and boys. Yes, she laid it all out once we started menstruating. And as you can imagine, every girls’ menstrual cycle was a joyful one. I was always glad to have my period even though I had never had sex before. I just knew that I was not pregnant and it made me proud because I was waiting for that special moment after marriage.
It is sad to know that there are still some parents who are ignorant enough to consort to painful and unimaginable process to try to keep boys off their daughters. I learned recently that it’s called “Breast Ironing” and some tribes in my own country practice it. It is a process done to keep boys away from girl children, since a fully grown breast would call attention and bring in the assumption that the girl is ready for sex.
A girl called Geraldine recounted her very painful experience “My mother took a pestle, she warmed it well in the fire and then she used it to pound my breasts while I was lying down. She took the back of a coconut, warmed it in the fire and used it to iron the breasts. I was crying and trembling to escape but there was no way."  
Another girl confessed “I wanted to go to school like other girls who had no breasts,"
Even a mother acknowledged “Breast ironing is not a new thing. I am happy I protected my daughter. I could not stand the thought of boys spoiling her with sex before she completed school," one woman explained.
"Unfortunately, television is encouraging all sorts of sexual immorality in our children."
Apparently 26% of Cameroonian girls go through this during puberty.
It is sad to know that these women know very little about sex education: talking to their kids about sex and not risking their lives with brutality.



Web Site: Lemonade Street

Reader Reviews for "Breast Ironing"

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Reviewed by Lyn Dano
wow, that's horrifying. I had never heard of such a thing. Women are treated horribly in many cultures. Thanks for sharing.
Reviewed by Lavendar Jazz
I am saddened by this story, men tend to rule the world and women often try to find ways to protect young girl from them. In a male dominated world, women must get more education so that we can dismiss some of these horrible customs that hurt more than help. Thanks for educating me on this custom.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
Have never heard of breast ironing - more injustices done to our daughters. "To keep boys off our daughters" particularly heartbreaking - what's being done to keep THEM off? Sad -

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Georg Mateos
In my travels though Africa I have seen and heard of barbaric "traditional" customs bestow upon girls/women but never ever I encountered such practices done to men.
In some parts of extreme muslim sharia garbage, women are forced to wear burkas even with temperatures well over the hundred, while boys/ men, to escape the the furnace can go around half naked.
When a girl is subject to those barbaric practices, shouldn't a male member of her family offer a testicle? that will stop it pronto! ! !

Reviewed by Charlie
OH!! Those poor little girls! Stunned. I just can't stand the thought of parents hurting their own children-- they've been so difficult for me to bring into the world. No, I'm with you. Education-- education is the best way to protect our children-- that and bashing in our t.v's... --Charlie
Reviewed by Ann Marquette
this is terribly sad and cruel.
Reviewed by Victoria's Poetry & Voices of Muse
Oh This Is Indeed Very Sad! Why can't they just wrap them without harm? The physical pain of this Ironing!! Why is it there isn't also teaching the boys? I read a story about a lady came from another country & her vagina & all the other attributes were mutilated & destroyed when she was a girl. (No Sexual Pleasure For Females Only Men Are Allowed) anyway she had no idea she was deformed/mutilated till the OBGYN was in horror and asked her what happened to her. The Lady never experienced an orgasm even. I can't fathom to know a man like that. Oh No...No...No....Superiority of any form is very small & microscopic in my book!

Thank Your For Further Knowledging Me Us This!

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