By Ann Wambui
As a child goes to school, their expectation is that their interaction with other children is safe, regardless of the grade or class other children are in. However, this is not always the pattern as some senior pupils tend to bully the juniors and in certain cases, reports of sexual abuse do arise in teaching institutions. Sometimes the abuse comes from teachers or outsiders who in different cases get access to schools or attack children on their way home or anywhere children are preys. At times, the perpetrators are parents or relatives of children who have trusted the people coming to their homes and family ties.
According to World Vision Kenya, 150,000 children are sexually or physically abused annually in Kenya by their guardians. In the report released June 2017, children are afraid to come out and report the offenders because of family ties and most likely their abusers are providers for their basic needs.
In Nyandarua County, 10 pupils were reported to be sexually assaulted by Class Eight pupils of the same school after one of the sexual abuse victim was taken to hospital and confirmed to have been assaulted. The seven year-old later confirmed that it was after he refused to give his food to the class eight senior that he was sexually assaulted. He also attested that there were other many students suffering in silence despite the school head-teacher James Warui saying, “It is true that there are such complaints but we want to authenticate them after we see the doctor’s full report. The pupils did not report to any teacher about what has been transpiring and we take the necessary action once we find the truth.”
The same week, a rape case was reported at Moi Girls High School where one or three students are said to have been sexually assaulted by an unknown person in one of the dormitories at around 5 am. It is however disputed that the administration had tried to cover up the rape allegations by instructing the students to go about their normal day activities and to restrain from speaking of what transpired that morning in the dormitories.
Despite the school board disbandment by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed, parents are calling for a change to boost security at the institution. On the day of the ordeal, there were six security guards on duty but somehow perpetrators gained access to the dormitories. Proposals are that a perimeter wall should be erected and a new security firm contracted on top of having five armed police officers.
As the investigators of the rape incident continue so as to find what transpired that night, the students who were sent home for a week prepare to report back this Sunday June 10. With the management changed and internal measures taken to ensure the students feel safe and comfortable when they report back, questions still arise as to whether the children will be safe in the future against such form of abuse.
As Kenya prepares to celebrate the Day of the African Child on June 16, we must all realize that the great future of this nations lies greatly on the children and the state must protect children from sexual and physical abuse, child labor, slavery and any other form of child extortion.
The International Day of the African Child is marked on every 16th June since 1991 after it was established by Organization of African Unity to honor those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976. This day continues to raise awareness of the need to improve education provided to African children.
Sources:Word Vision Report and Standard Digital
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