Mutilation as a means to try to safeguard their daughters, as the world gone mad?
A brutal tradition akin to female genital mutilation is spreading in Cameroon’s war zone. Girls’ breasts are “flattened” with hot irons and stones to keep men at bay.
When Grace Tchami started showing signs of puberty at age nine, her mother, hoping to protect her, began to torture her. At about seven o’clock every morning, her mother would take one of the heavy stone pestles used for grinding food and heat it burning hot over a charcoal fire, then press it on Grace’s breasts, attempting to flatten them.
In a small, bamboo-roofed kitchen behind the house, Grace remembers, Mama performed this procedure day after day for three months. Grace’s older brother would hold her legs so she couldn’t run away. And then, still reeling from the ordeal, Grace would be sent along to elementary school.
I met Grace, who is now 16, in this southern Nigerian town where she had…
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