Child Sexual Abuse in Kenya

Child sexual abuse: What is your response?

There have been increased reports of child sexual abuse in many countries. The sad part is that most of the child abuse cases are perpetrated by persons known to the child. This is so because children become more vulnerable in places that should guarantee their safety, like the homes and schools.

This vice of Child survivors of sexual violence cuts across all genders and age, yet the society seems lax in addressing this issue.

As a result we have persons above 18 years of age who due to the trauma experienced in childhood suffer from post traumatic stress disorders, or some have become perpetrators in an effort to revenge on what was done to them, whilst some have become social deviants.

Reasons for occurrence of child sexual abuse

According to the society at large, there are various factors that promote the occurrence of child sexual abuse. These include:

  • The child consented
  • The dressing was suggestive   or provocative in nature
  • The perpetrator didn’t know what s/he was doing. This is common in cases where the abuser is also a minor
  • Influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Spiritual forces

Given the above reasons, the community response to cases of child sexual abuse more often than note has not been adequate.

This situation is in no way different in Kenya, as there are many factors that put the Kenyan child at risk of sexual abuse. These include:

  • Poor implementation of existing legislative framework
  • Disintegration of the family unit
  • Collapse of the moral values
  • Poverty which results in lack of  access to education
  • Cultural practices like forced child marriages and female genital mutilation
  • Forceful recruitment  of children into prostitution or drug trafficking

Effects of child sexual abuse

Sexual abuse of children is documented to result in lifelong effects that could include unwanted pregnancies, infections like HIV & STIs, psychological trauma, social ostracization, and other development associated complications

Response to cases of child sexual abuse in Kenya and Beyond

The society’s response to child sexual abuse could be pegged on the reasons why child sexual abuse happens. However most individuals place blame on the survivors of sexual violence, and children are not an exception.

This silent response to cases of child sexual abuse is informed by:

  • The fear of the child to report their parents or siblings to the authorities
  • The fear of  parents being discriminated upon by the extended family for having reported instances where their spouses violate their children
  • Fear of losing the bread winner if found guilty for the offence by  the court of law
  • Stigma associated with child sexual abuse, especially incest

Given this there is need for the society at large to improve on their response to cases of child sexual abuse, given that children are our future

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