With the prevalence of sexual abuse cases against children in Kenya, there seems to be no safe haven for the innocent fruits of the womb.
Sexual abuse can be in form of sexual molestation, sexual intercourse and or family related rape.
In homes where they are supposed to be safest, they are sexually preyed on by relatives. In schools they are defiled by teachers who are supposed to be their fountains of knowledge. It’s sad that the teachers who are entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of young girls and boys end up preying on them when they should be the ones educating them on dangers of early sexual intercourse.
In some communities these heinous acts are perpetrated by HIV positive men in the belief that having sex with younger girls and boys will cure them. A belief that needs to be wiped out completely.
It’s unfortunate that not a day passes without watching or listening to cases of sexual abuse in the media. One may tend to ask. What is really going on? Where have gone wrong as a society? If at all we can keep quiet and witness as our children who look up to us being sexually abused while those responsible of robbing their innocence walk scot-free.
In a bizarre incident that occurred in May 2016 where the headteacher of a school in Laikipia North was chased away by parents for piling pressure on the authorities to take action against a teacher who impregnated a Standard Four pupil.
The headteacher identified as Ms Anne Resiano was being accused by being the parents and the members of the public of having poor relations with the community where they demanded her immediate removal.
While acting on the best interests of the abused girl Ms Resiano reported the matter to the police and education officers, a move that didn’t augur well with the parents of the school.
Although the 16-year old girl already gave birth, the suspect had not been apprehended and had sought the help of the community elders and politicians to solve the matter of out court.
This scenario goes out to show just how the community is ignorant of the grievous harm the suspect had caused the girl. Dropping out of school, becoming a teenage mother at a tender age, denied the right to education and be in school yet the perpetrator walks free.
Loose family units act as a contributing factor to these vice, where incest is rampant. Children are the ones who suffer the most, it may take the form of male relatives especially fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers etc sexually abusing girls. Boys aren’t spared either they are sodomised or sexually molested by female relatives.
Poor and long prosecution processes in the court system where justice takes long to be served, at times makes the victim withdraw the case since it is time consuming and one can’t be sure if justice will be served fairly and just. Making them seek out-of-court settlement for the case.
The offence is punishable by law for not less than 5 years in jail or life imprisonment. But sometimes it is not always the case since at some point the case might be dismissed due to interference with evidence, lack of enough evidence or withdrawal of the witnesses as a result of intimidation or blackmail by the offenders. These are huge setbacks in the process of administering justice to the victims.
Drug abuse and pornography are other contributing factors; a majority of the perpetrators have been proven to be under the influence of drug abuse while perpetrating such acts. Pornography cultivates in a person the desire to act upon such fantasies developed in the blue movies.
These acts expose innocent children to the risk of contracting STDs including HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, psychological trauma, learning disability, suicidal tendencies, destructive activities and also drug abuse as a way of running away from the reality.
Although the government and the media are at the forefront condemning this vice, a lot still needs to be done. As a society or community we are charged with the responsibility of protecting the children, preserve their innocence and let them enjoy their childhood without interference. They need us!