We highlight issues associated with FGM, which are presented to us by the women we work with. Women are now talking to us about Breast Ironing, a process in which young pubescent girls’ breasts are ironed, pounded, and/or massaged (usually by their close relatives) to prevent them from developing and/or to reduce their size. The UN has identified the practice as one of five forgotten crimes against women.
Breast Ironing can result in second degree burns, bruising, tissue rupture, inflammation, infection, fluid retention, inverted nipples, and mastitis. It can often cause extreme pain, swelling, fever, and abscess formation. Mental health impacts on those affected include psychological distress, depression, anxiety, intense fear, and shame, among others. We aim to highlight this practice here in the UK, raise awareness of the harmful practice and support survivors.