|The process uses stones, a hammer or a spatula heated over hot coals to mutilate the breast tissue and make the girls look less 'womanly' - around 1,000 British girls face harm from the practice, it has been revealed|
According to Daily Mail:
Around 1,000 British girls face harm from the 'abhorrent' practice of breast ironing, ministers have warned. In the brutal procedure, hot objects [stones, a hammer or a spatula] are used to pound and beat girls' breasts to stop them growing in the belief it makes them less desirable and discourages premarital pregnancy.
Breast ironing originated in Cameroon, where it affects as many as one in four.
It also takes place in Nigeria, Benin and Chad. This week Jake Berry, the Conservative MP for Rossendale & Darwen, said he was shocked to learn girls in west African communities in Birmingham and London were victims too. It is very difficult to spot as most of the perpetrators were the victims' own mothers.
|In the brutal procedure, hot objects [stones, a hammer or a spatula] are used to pound and beat girls' breasts to stop them growing in the belief it makes them less desirable|
Mr Berry used freedom of information requests to show how little is known about the practice among child protection professions and the police. A quarter of children's services department had not been trained to look for signs, while one in seven police forces had never heard of it.
He told The Times: 'There is a dangerous lack of knowledge out there. The government should act and issue guidance to all local authorities and other public sector bodies about the warning signs that could uncover this practice.' He said breast ironing should be given the same statutory recognition as female genital mutilation (FGM), so health professionals were trained to try and spot signs.
|Breast ironing originated in Cameroon, where it affects as many as one in four - it is often carried out by the victims' mothers and so is very difficult to spot|
Culture, tradition and religion were often used to justify the practice, Mr Berry said, adding: 'But just as in the case of FGM these words are a thinly veiled excuse for a ritualised form of child abuse.' Margaret Nyuydzewira, founder of the Women and Girls Development Organisation, told The New Day: 'Yes, it is happening in the UK. We know it is happening through members of our community. '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.'
|This week Jake Berry (pictured), the Conservative MP for Rossendale & Darwen, said he was shocked to learn girls in west African communities in Birmingham and London were victims too|