A national network of mothers in Cameroon is forming a coalition with other agencies and journalists to call attention to the controversial cultural practice of breast ironing. Designed to make pubescent girls less sexually attractive, breast ironing involves the pounding of a girl's breasts with a hot grinding stone for hours each day until they flatten out and stop growing. Pestles, belts and other heated objects can also be used. An estimated 50 per cent of women in the region of Douala, Cameroon have had it done and the practice remains shrouded in silence. Typically viewed as a secret between mothers and daughters, many girls are believed to endure the pain in silence despite the trauma associated with the practice. While traditionalists defend breast ironing as a way to prevent early pregnancy, the psychological effect can be devastating for young girls who can develop serious emotional and physical problems later in life (including breast cancer, abscesses, and inability to breastfeed).