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Monday, 11 April 2016

British Mothers Who 'Beast Iron' Their Daughters May Now be Prosecuted

According to reports released last week, thousands of British mums across the UK practice the act of "breast-ironing" their daughters using rocks, hammers and spatulas in a ritual which they say prevent their daughters from looking attractive to boys.
A British MP, Conservative MP Jake Berry has now called  for "breast-ironing" to be made a criminal offence.

When MP Jake Berry heard about this practice, he was so shocked that he tabled a parliamentary debate on it last week saying he that he wanted the practice to become a criminal offence in the UK.
MP Jake Berry
He told the Commons:
“The words ‘culture’, ‘tradition’ or ‘religion’ might come up when trying to explain this absurdly harmful practice, but as in the case of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), these words are only thinly veiled excuses for a ritualised form of child abuse .”
His said research has shown that 15 per cent of UK police forces have never heard of the procedure while four in 10 wanted more advice on how to tackle it.
Adding that no one really knows how widespread it is because no official figures are kept and many victims aren't speaking out.
He said:
“This hidden abuse is happening here in Britain and we have to seek out the abusers and push for prosecution.
"The Government needs to work across departments and with GPs and hospitals, including extending mandatory reporting, to shine a light on it.
“Not one person has ever been convicted of this crime in the UK. The lack of prosecutions partly stem from a fear by the victim of reporting a family member.”
Breast ironing is a barbaric act practiced in parts of Africa, especially in Cameroon. but those at the ­frontline of child protection say it is also happening in African communities in the UK.
The ritual involves pounding the breasts of little girls as soon as they begin to develop any, with objects that have been heated over hot coals. Some women use rocks, others hammers and spatulas.

One victim told told Sky News:
"They put the spatula on the fire and then they press it on the breast and yes, it hurts.
"Then it goes weak, it's like melting, fat melting and you can feel the breast going back… one of my breasts is bigger than the other one."
The reason behind this idea is that by removing their breast tissue, young girls will be less sexually attractive and less likely to get pregnant at a young age, ­preventing them from bringing shame on their families.

Margaret Nyuydzewira, founder of the CAME Women and Girls Development Organisation, a UK charity campaigning on behalf of victims said:
“Yes, it is happening in the UK. We have not done any studies to discover the prevalence at the moment, but we know it is happening through members of our community. “The idea is that mothers are worried their children are developing at a faster rate.
“It is brutal. There is a lot of trauma. Mothers are doing it with good intentions, to protect their daughters from sexual harassment, but it does not fit with British values.
“Women need to understand that what they are doing is harmful to their children and it may have a long-term impact. “I cannot walk alone. We need the government’s support. We need to spread the word and talk to others.”
Cameroonian Marie Laure Jatsa, who has interviewed 6,000 women to understand the breast ironing culture said:
“Some parents believe that Europe should not get involved in their tradition. It’s ridiculous they live here and still have those barbaric customs. “What’s incredible is that it is a woman doing it to another woman. Mothers truly believe that this is going to help their daughters to avoid an early pregnancy.”

Cathy AbahFouda is a survivor of breast ironing who works for an NGO called RENATA, which campaigns against breat ironing.
She said: “I started growing breasts when I was 10. "My mother explained to my sister that I was growing breasts too early and that I would attract boys.”
Cathy said she underwent breast ironing at 10 but when she turned 11, her breasts grew again and because she was ashamed she began to carry out the procedure on herself.
She added:
“Breast ironing, however, did not prevent me from getting pregnant at the age of 16 and leaving school.” 
Her breasts were so damaged she needed surgery and was unable to breastfeed her baby.
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