This article touches on an issue that has been very heavy on my heart. I know this will evoke many strong mixed emotions in the readers who may misunderstand me, so I will take this opportunity to explain where my dilemma arises from.
As a medical practitioner handling cases of sexual assault, both victims/survivors and suspects, one of the observations I have made whenever a suspect of sexual assault was brought to me, was that many claimed and sang of their innocence. Obviously this is expected and it may be considered naïve of me to to find this surprising, however let me give a few scenarios over the next few weeks in my defense:
Scenario 1: She wanted it!
A 27 year old male is escorted to me in handcuffs as a sex offender. The story is that he abducted a teenage girl, Joy, and defiled her for a weekend before releasing her to go home on a Sunday evening.
Thereafter, her parents who had been looking for her, found out his whereabouts after cross examining Joy, demanding to know where she had been. To their surprise, he lived not too far from them. They then informed the residents in that area who made a citizens’ arrest, frog-marching him to the police station.
He accepted that indeed, he had sexual intercourse with this young girl (carnal knowledge of her?)and that he didn’t understand why this was a crime because, apparently, she initiated the entire escapade!
Too many times have I heard:
“ Ni yeye alikuwa anaitaka. Ata alijileta kwangu”
(She is the one who wanted it. Infact she brought herself to my place)
This man genuinely believed that he had done no wrong because the girl, a child, insisted that he services her to satisfy her needs.
This might be hard for some readers to grasp but believe it or not there are very many sexually active children, some from a very tender age, even as young as 5 or 6 years. This normally indicates a severe deep seated problem within the home and possible sexual abuse. The above scenario is very very common.
I make it a habit to ask all parties questions to try understand their thought process better. So when I asked the suspect:
“ Didn’t you notice that this is a child? Did she look over 18 surely? You knew she was under 18 and proceeded anyway?”
Sadly, most times the answer to this is yes, he knew she was under 18 years but continued anyway, he didn’t think it was a crime if he hadn’t forced her.
Sometimes the girls say that “ He is my boyfriend. We have been at this for months. It’s just that my parents found out. They are upset and decided to take him to the police station. I love him and he loves me. He said he will marry me and I am happy with that”
“Alimdanganya akamunyanganya mtoto na kumfanyia tabia mbaya. Huyu mtu lazima alale ndani!
( He deceived her, abducted her, raped her, and he must go to jail)
Now, the bottom line here is that an adult had sexual relations with a child. According to the Sexual Offences Act in our Kenyan law, sexual activity with a minor is an offence, WHETHER OR NOT THE CHILD GIVES CONSENT! Consent is not an ingredient when dealing with a minor. This CANNOT be overemphasized.
Any individual below 18 years of age is under the care and custody of a parent or guardian who must be consulted on most decisions that need to be made concerning the child. In other words, any individual below 18 is a child and cannot make decisions to have sexual relations, even if with another child.
In certain developed countries there is an “age of consent” which allows children to engage in sexual activity after a certain age and attend clinics for Sexual and Reproductive Health information and even contraceptive pills; this age ranges from 12 years in some countries to 18. However, even then, an adult having sex with a child is forbidden globally.
I hope this article helps someone somewhere and in good time. For the girls who are eyeing older men, Please think twice. For the men eyeing young girls, you will be caught, and spend years and years in prison. Trust me, that is not a place you want to be, especially if inmates know what you are there for!
It’s time we break the silence on this issue!
Let me know your thoughts on this. Watch this space for more scenarios where we can Save our Boys by educating them.