My breast torture: Anguish of breast ironing survivor

By Joan Obinagwam


Breast ironing is a harmful practice that affects millions of girls around the world. It involves the use of heated objects, such as stones, pestles, or spatulas, to press and flatten the breasts of young girls who are entering puberty.

Confiance News gathered that the aim is to delay or prevent the development of their breasts, and to protect them from sexual harassment, rape, early pregnancy, or forced marriage. However, breast ironing can cause severe physical and psychological damage to the girls, such as infections, abscesses, tissue damage, cysts, and depression. It can also violate their human rights and dignity.

In this story culled from Girdle Advocacy, we will follow the live of a woman who is anguished over her breast ironing experience.


This story is based on real testimony and facts from the victim. It is not intended to judge or blame anyone who practices or has practiced breast ironing, but rather to raise awareness and empathy for the girls who suffer from it. We hope that this story will inspire you to take action against breast ironing and other forms of violence against women and girls.


“At 12 Years Old, You Would Think I Was 70 Years Old Because Of My Breasts!” Mrs Eileen Recalls Hers: “I was 9 years old when my breasts began to show. Suddenly, my mom asked me to stop bathing in the river with my agemates. She became very worried and soon told me that my breasts were growing too fast and would begin to attract boys and men.


Days later, she called me into her bedroom; I saw a stove with fire and a stone on her hand. She asked me to sit on a stool and then put the stone on fire. She used a thick cloth to pick the stone from the fire and pressed my breasts with it.


I cried from pain on her first attempt and ran from the bedroom but she caught me and tied my legs and arms to my back. She started ironing my breasts with the hot stone and at the same time, apologizing to me that she was not torturing me but protecting me from men, early pregnancy and from shaming our family.


I was surprised she was crying because of my pain but she still went on ironing my breasts with the hot stone, even with the tears in her eyes.


She did this over a year and by then, my breast had fallen and had scars over them. When I was twelve years old, I couldn’t undress in front of my mates because my breasts were like an old woman’s – it was saggy and I always used push-up bra. I lived like an outcast among my mates.


My mom really damaged my breasts because I was unable to breastfeed my baby. My husband arranged for me to undergo surgery to restore my breasts, yet they don’t look like normal!”


#FYI, the United Nations (UN) says that, Breast Ironing affects 3.8 million women globally!


Featured Image credit: Girdle Advocacy 



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