Breast-ironing, a solution to rape and sexual harassment?

By Casmir Igbokwe

Published: Sunday, 13 May 2007

In Nigeria, we use the wooden pestle to pound yam or fufu. In Cameroon, the instrument is reportedly used to pound and massage the developing breasts of young girls. It is used together with hot objects like coconut shells to get maximum effect. They call this practice breast-ironing. And parents who do this believe it will flatten the breasts of their daughters and make them unattractive to lascivious men. There is a lesson to draw from this cruel tradition.

But, let’s first recount some sexual atrocities we witness in our world today. The worst of them is sexual offences against children. In February, for instance, the British press reported that three paedophiles were jailed for using the Internet to plot the rape of two young sisters aged 13 and 14. The three men met each other in an incest chat room. The same month, a Sheffield Crown Court jailed a violent sex attacker, Gary Howe, for a series of attacks on young girls.

In January, there were reports that a convicted rapist was jailed for life for kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old girl from northern Wales. Alan Grant, 49, had earlier been jailed for 12 years in 1991 for raping a woman at her home in West Sussex. He beat the woman’s husband and locked him up in a cupboard so that his evil act would not be interrupted. Similarly, a former North Wales police constable was jailed for nine years for raping a 14-year-old girl at his home in Flintshire. The man got the girl drunk before raping her.

In one interesting episode in southern Wales, a 20-year-old man, after raping a girl of 10, got a reprieve from Swansea Crown Court. The pardon was because the man thought, and the judge believed him, that the girl was over 16. Some reports in the media quoted the judge, Roderick Evans, to have said that the girl was looking for a man and got what she wanted. She consented to sex, but it was called rape because of her age.

This, somehow, shows that men can also be victims of sexual harassment. Some girls, initially, may consent to sex. But for reasons best known to them, they turn around to claim rape afterwards. Some of them clearly show in their behaviour that they need men. If you go to most pubs in Britain, you will see them in different seductive moods. In some cases, they outnumber men in these pubs. And when no man seems to have interest, some of them resort to kissing and cuddling each other. Now that the cold winter season is giving way for the sunny summer, mini skirts and hot pants of all shapes are resurfacing.

The other day, I was passing along Llandough Street in Cardiff. Four young men were doing some tip-tap with a football in their courtyard. The ball bounced onto the road. I picked it. But as I came closer to drop it for them, I saw a girl who wore only pants and brassiere lying face up. She was savouring the beautiful sunshine that showered its blessings that day. I cringed as I quickly threw the ball to them and moved away. This lady’s dressing and posture meant nothing to these young men who, I suspect, are her housemates. Thank God that some men are mature enough to withstand this clear provocation. So far, I have withstood such seductions too, my wife’s claim of often seeing women and me in a vision notwithstanding.

The liberal attitude of the West about sex is gradually gaining currency in Africa. In March this year, the Gay and Lesbian Association of Ghana requested a gay rights group in London to write a protest letter to President John Kufuor of Ghana who was on a visit to the UK that month. In the letter, the group, known as OutRage, said Ghana’s continuing criminalisation of homosexuality was a relic of colonialism. It urged the Ghanaian government to turn its back on what it called the hateful, divisive homophobia of the colonial era. It also urged it to follow in the footsteps of the South African government which, it said, pioneered Africa’s commitment to the human rights of lesbian and gay people.

In Sudan, it was recently reported that a man called Charles Tombe had an amorous affair with a goat. Elders of the community where this bizarre story occurred forced Tombe to marry the goat and pay dowry to its owner. The goat, named Rose, has just died after eating scraps of a plastic bag. It’s in this same Sudan (Darfur region) that rape is being used as a weapon of war. A United Nations report last month gave details of many sexual atrocities committed by Sudanese government soldiers against young girls and even pregnant women.

In Nigeria, we have not heard cases of man-goat sexual relationship. Homosexuality exists, but not too common. There are snippets of rape cases here and there. But the worrying issue now is the frequent reports of sexual harassment against young schoolgirls. Earlier in the year, Senator Isa Mohammed of Niger State decried the incessant cases of sexual harassment of female students by some of their teachers at the Federal Government Girls’ College, Bida in Niger State. The Bida problem may be small when compared to what is happening in most other schools across the country.

The solution to this problem is to follow the British example in meting adequate punishment to sex offenders. Now, scientists at Birmingham’s Forensic Science Service have developed a new technology whereby a DNA test will provide evidence in rape cases that, hitherto, would have been difficult to prove. This, scientists say, will help the police in the UK to solve rape cases even when there is no trace of sperm from rapists.

Another way of solving this problem may be in emulating the Japanese in their low appetite for sex. A recent survey by the health and welfare ministry of Japan found that about 40 per cent of men and women aged between 16 and 49 had not had sex for more than a month. The situation was blamed on long working hours. As most young men in Africa do not have jobs not to talk of long working hours, they occupy their idle minds with plots to commit one evil or the other. Young girls are usually their targets.

This is why breast ironing is fashionable in Cameroon. But I doubt if this will deter desperate young men with high libido. I am a bit disturbed because my own daughters are coming up as well. The type of breast ironing I want for them is for the government to strengthen existing laws on rape and other sexual offences. The National Assembly may also consider enacting a law that will subject convicted serial rapists to testicle ironing (castration.) This will kill their libido forever.

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4 Comments »

  1. 1
    samuel Says:

    hello

  2. 2

    […] Breast-ironing, a solution to rape and sexual harassment? May 20071 comment 5 […]

  3. 3
    Blanca Says:

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  4. 4
    phim Says:

    Likewise, Baz Luhrmann’s” The Great Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, also makes better user of the technology, Schklair said, adding the film was one of his all time best movies. It has been an early,” premium” video-on-demand window, in which cable subscribers could pay $30 or so to watch a movie or a music streaming site isn’t
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