Protect pupils from sex pests


Nearly half of females report being victims of sexual violence.

Photo credit: Pool

During school breaks, a disturbing shadow emerges, often unnoticed and unspoken: The shadow of sexual violence against children. The scourge is not confined to Kenya; rather, it’s a global concern demanding action.

Although the Sexual Offences Act offers thorough legal measures to tackle sexual violence, KDHS 2022 statistics show a significant portion of the population continues experiencing such atrocities, with children being in the lead.

Nearly half of females (46 per cent) report being victims of sexual violence, as do six per cent of male children.

Adolescents, in particular, are often preyed on. The absence of a structured and protective environment provided by schools leaves them exposed to exploitation. And the predators are often individuals close to them, like family members and relatives.

Parents, who should provide supervision and protection, often fall short. Compounding this issue are the so-called “Romeo and Juliet” relationships among school-going children, which can lead to defilement cases where both parties are perpetrators.

The consequences of these acts become evident upon the resumption of school, with increased instances of teenage pregnancies and diminished academic performance among affected girls.

The ripple effects of sexual violence against children are profound and far-reaching. It not only disrupts their education, leading to redundancy in class and eventual dropout from school, but it also contributes to a host of social problems—including poverty, insecurity, child marriages, and teenage pregnancies.

Moreover, the victims suffer immense emotional, psychological, and physical trauma, which stunts their growth and development

- Ms Robi is a youth advocate at NAYA Kenya. [email protected].