- Breast flattening is abuse and is wrong.
- There is no reason that justifies breast flattening.
- You have the right to speak up to stay safe.
Abuse, like breast flattening (sometimes called breast ironing), is never your fault. You might feel confused and upset by what’s happening – especially if it’s being done to you by a family member or someone you love.
You can talk to Childline any time - we are always here for you. It can be scary to tell us about what’s happening, but we are here to support you and get you the help that you need. You can also try talking to a safe adult such as a teacher and telling them what is happening.
If you need medical help or advice you can always call the NHS on 111. Childline has advice about visiting your doctor and how to ask them for help. You can find more information about breast flattening on the National FGM Centre's website.
Call 999 if you ever feel in danger or need urgent medical treatment.
You may be worried that breast flattening could happen to you. Maybe it’s happened to other people in your family, or someone else you know. You have the right to speak out and stay safe.
If you're feeling scared or alone, you can talk to Childline any time. We will always support you and get you the help you need.
You can also always talk to a teacher or another safe adult that you trust.
If you feel that you may be in danger then you should call 999.
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Breast flattening (sometimes known as breast ironing) is when a girl’s breasts are pressed with a hot object, massaged, pounded or flattened over time to flatten them and delay their development.
This is different from choosing to bind your breasts – we have lots more information and advice about gender identity and how to cope with how you’re feeling.
Breast flattening is often done by a female family member, like a mother, aunty or grandmother, who believe this will help keep the girl safe from unwanted attention from men. Whatever the reason – breast flattening is abuse and it’s wrong. It can be very painful and cause health issues.
You may be worried if you speak up about breast flattening that:
It’s normal to feel like this and it can make speaking up feel really hard. You might have a good relationship with the person doing this to you and they might believe they’re doing this for your own good. However, breast flattening is harmful and nobody should be hurting you like this.
Helping a friend through a tough time is hard – and it’s important you take care of yourself and how you’re feeling too. Try talking to Childline or a safe adult about how you are feeling – they might have advice to help you and the person you’re worried about.