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The study found that on average for Cameroon; approximately, 25% of all girls and women had experienced some form of breast ironing in their lives, although the prevalence rates differ depending on location [18].It also shows that breast ironing was performed most often by the girl’s mother (nearly 60% of the time), but also by a nurse or caretaker, aunt, older sister, grandmother, the girl herself and, in a minority of cases, by a traditional healer, father, brother, cousin, friend, or neighbour [19].The term harmful practice denotes all practices done intentionally on the body or psyche of other human beings for no therapeutic purpose but instead for cultural or socio-conventional reasons which have an adverse effect on the health and rights of the victims [7].As argued by Kouyate, these practices which usually have ‘irrational’ and vague reasons and also have remote and mysterious origins, amount to violence against women and have proved rather difficult to eliminate [8].


Tapscott describes the practice of breast ironing as ‘warming and softening the tissues of the breast so they could be dispersed or spread flat [15].’ From the above it may be inferred that women in Cameroon believe that the preferred tool used in breast flattening can reconstruct breast tissue in the same way it transforms spices.

Such violence is highly prevalent within the family, remains widely socially tolerated and is often a cycle of abuse that manifests itself in an endless variety of forms [1].


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