Showing posts with label International Ceremonies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Ceremonies. Show all posts

October 28, 2012

Breast Ironing and The Agony for Little Girls in Cameroon

Screen grab from a video showing a breast ironing re-enactment by the Cameroonian
 organisation OGCEYOD, based in Limbe, in western Cameroon.
During puberty, thousands of Cameroonian girls fall victim to a painful 
practice: the women in their families, sometimes even their own mothers, 
try to make their growing breasts disappear by crushing them. 
They believe this “protects” the girls from experiencing their sexuality too soon.
According to a 2005 investigation by two doctors, almost a quarter of
 Cameroonian women have been victims of this practice. This “ironing” 
or “massaging” of the breasts, as it is sometimes euphemistically called, 
has also been reported in Togo and Guinea. 
A re-enactment by the Cameroonian organisation OGCEYOD.
The woman who plays the mother
 realises how painful it is, and then becomes involves in the
 fight against this practice.


“A lot of women become worried when their daughter 

reaches puberty around the age of eight or nine.

 They consider this to be too early”

Georgette Arrey Taky is the Executive Secretary of Renata, a national network of young mothers that teaches sexual education to Cameroonian women.

It’s difficult to say when this began. All we know is that today’s elderly women also suffered this treatment during their adolescence. The last study on the subject concluded that breast ironing was practised throughout Cameroon, particularly in the centre and west of the country. This practice exists among the rich as well as the poor.
The reason why breast ironing is so rooted in our customs is because the mothers who endured it were told by their own mothers that it was to protect them. They therefore repeat the gesture to protect their own daughters. It’s a vicious circle that survives through ignorance more than tradition.
A lot of women become worried when their daughter reaches puberty around the age of eight or nine. They consider this to be too early, and therefore believe that their daughter will attract boys and risk becoming pregnant too early. The young girls are massaged until they are 15 or 16 years old. By making their breasts disappear, the mothers believe they can control the girls’ effect on men, and thus, their sexuality. This is obviously an illusion. We regularly meet very young mothers in our organisation who had their breasts ironed. That’s why we are working to convince parents that effective sex education can only be achieved through dialogue.
The breasts of a victim.
 © Réseau national des associations des tantines.
“Women, usually mothers or aunts, use spatulas, stones and even pestles”
The pain of the “ironing” is unimaginable. Women, usually mothers or aunts, use spatulas, stones or even pestles. These objects are heated up and struck against the developing breast. The strike leads to burns as well as infections and cysts. The long-term consequences are no less detrimental. According to a few specialists, the victims are more susceptible to breast cancer. Furthermore, in intimate situations, the damaged breasts become the source of body image issues. I met a girl who doesn’t even dare to take her clothes off in front of her friends.
Our work is to make mothers understand that breast ironing causes a lot more pain to a young girl than puberty does. We do a lot of field work, going to churches and traditional meetings among mothers. We make sure they thoroughly understand the pain they have caused. But changing attitudes takes time, given that there is no law forbidding this practice.

November 4, 2011

British Partners Can Have Civil Ceremonies In Church

Image: Gay wedding cake.
By Jennifer Carlile
BRIGHTON, England — “It was love at first sight,” said Tony Mason, speaking amid chocolate fountains, flower bouquets and cruise ship brochures at a recent wedding show in this city on the south coast of England.
After a three-and-a-half-year engagement, the besotted groom will soon marry his “soul mate” — an act the Atlanta, Ga., native once thought impossible in his adopted country.
While their wedding will be traditional, and their honeymoon a time-honored riverboat cruise down the Danube, the groom and his prince charming will make history as one of the first same-sex couples to legalize their union in the United Kingdom.
That's because Britain this week brought the Civil Partnerships Act into force. The act grants same-sex couples almost identical rights to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples; the main difference being that a civil partnership cannot be registered on religious premises.
"The government doesn't support gay marriage, but you'd have to look hard to find the differences between the rights and responsibilities which it affords straight and gay couples," said Britain's Gay Times "Pride and Groom" December issue, adding that "in the media, it's increasingly being called 'gay marriage.'"

England will see its first wave of partnership ceremonies on Dec. 21, after registered couples have waited out a 15-day “cooling off” period.
In contrast to the United States, where social conservatives  have vehemently opposed same-sex unions, there has been little opposition to the change in law here.
 pushing with his-and-his cake toppers and hers-and-hers bath robes.
An industry group called The Gay Wedding Show has toured Belfast, Manchester, Cardiff and Brighton, showcasing gay wedding planners (who deal with issues such as two fathers-of-the-brides walking down the aisle and how to divvy up friends for bachelor and bachelorette parties), wedding locales (such as hotels and palaces), honeymoon vacations and even prenuptial agreements.

Business owners and participants find themselves both nervous and giddy with excitement.

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