A new report has revealed shocking details on child sexual abuse in the country, with Nairobi County leading. The revelation comes amid debate on the increase in teenage pregnancies.
The report by the International Child Protection Conference 2018 indicates that, despite an 11-year-old law protecting children, they are still being sexually abused.
“Some of the reasons for the high prevalence can be attributed to: lack of stringent punishment for perpetrators having ways of enticing children, darkness in slums, shyness and lack of awareness, where parents don’t discuss issues to do with sex with their children,” says the report produced after a two-day conference in Nairobi in August.
It adds that most cases lead to death, besides serious physical and psychological injuries.
“It occurs across a wide range of social, cultural and socio-economic boundaries. Most traditions and family structures prohibit talk on sexuality, as well as the physical and emotional changes that come with it. As a result, child sexual abuse goes unreported,” the report says.
It adds that abuse cases have been increasing at an alarming rate in the recent past and wants a multifaceted approach involving key stakeholders with a view to curbing the vice.
“Those who experience childhood sexual trauma have been found to develop emotional and behavioural reactions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression,” the report says.
“The findings indicate that child sexual abuse occurred regardless of age, gender, religion, residence, and parents’ marital status. Perpetrators of abuse: strangers committed 44 per cent of the assaults, followed by neighbours (22 per cent) and family friends (7 per cent). Home was the most insecure place, as most of the assaults (22 per cent) happened there,” it adds.
It shows that of the 2,683 that were sexually abused before they reached 18 years, 417 reported having suffered depression,
“Most of the penetrative sexual abuse on children (22 per cent) occurred in their own homes, 11 per cent in school, and 13 per cent at the perpetrator’s home,” it says.
It recommends that a study be conducted to find out how the children can be managed to overcome the psychological effects of the abuse and taught life skills to prevent repeat abuse.
On teenage pregnancy, the report notes that 61 per cent of the young mothers reported that they experienced a number of social challenges.
It recommends that schools, faith-based organisations, and parents encourage and help teenage mothers overcome the myriad challenges they face daily.
“Various strategies could be used to enhance the parenting styles and coping mechanisms of teenage mothers, such as through the media as a powerful teaching and outreach tool. Stiff penalties should be put in place for absentee fathers,” it adds.
It goes on: “There should deliberate actions by Ministry of Education to inform head teachers on the“re-entry policy” and highlight on the role of parents in the re-admission process of teenage mothers”
During the administration of Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination a total of 10 girls delivered. The ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations has also recorded deliveries by candidates.
Education cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has since set up a team to look at the issue of teenage pregnancies in the country.