This article is a continuation of the series ‘save the boys’ that aims to sensitize boys and men about some issues they encounter that can land them in big trouble. It follows the last article ‘it’s her fault‘.
A 21 year old male, Mike, is escorted to my office in handcuffs. He had allegedly been defiling a 17 year old girl for a few months. The young man, to my surprise, quickly and willingly admitted that he was in a relationship with her and that he loved her. He wanted to marry her, and as far as he was concerned, they were a couple and he wanted them to start a family together. He was visibly distressed, saddened, and had what looked to me as the “I am in love” look.
A split second later the door flew open and the “victim” barged into the room. Before me stood a very beautiful young lady, Aisha, who could easily pass for a 20 year old! One more thing struck me, she was also pregnant. The young lady walked straight to him, looked me in the face and said to me:
“This is my husband. I love him and we are here by mistake. Ni wazazi wako na shida ( It’s my parents who have a problem). My husband wants to take care of me and of his family. we are expecting a baby. If he goes to jail, then what?”
As I listened further, it became evident that her father was furious and would stop at nothing until this young man was in prison, and worse, the intrauterine fetus aborted!
Did Mike know she was under 18? Yes, he did. They met when he was 20.
Did this stop him? No, it didn’t.
Does the law recognize couples in love who commit offences? NO!
Are Aisha’s parents wrong to report the matter? No. They are exercising their role as parents to protect their daughter who is under their care.
SO what happened next? Unfortunately, I was not able to follow up on this case to find out the final outcome, but generally by the time one comes to the office in cuffs and forms are filled, it is too late to turn back. The only way is forward and for the courts to decide what next.
Not only is this young man traumatized by having to hear himself branded a criminal suspect, and by having to sit in a cell possibly with hardcore criminals , but he also stands a chance of ending up in prison for defilement, at 21 years of age, for impregnating the young lady, sorry, the child, that he loves and plans to marry.
What do we learn from this?
Love will not get you off the hook if you commit a sexual offence! A child is a child even if she/he looks older and wise enough. The law is very strict where children are concerned and conduct thorough investigations to ensure justice is served and that the child’s best interests are met.
Parents should take time with their sons and educate them on sex and sex matters. We should teach our children early what sex is about and the rules governing sexual activity.
Let’s all take time to reflect on this scenario and think about the numerous boys whose jail sentences could possibly have been avoided had they understood sex and the law. Many won’t care, I agree, but a few will. For those who will listen, we must break the silence on these issues to help them make wise decisions and grow up right!