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Kenyans to blame for moral decay in society

09 September 2014, 17:35 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi - Sexual abuse and exploitation of children in Kenya has seen a significant rise in the recent years.

Is it a surprise then that the modern society we are currently cultivating isn’t as morally upright as we would like it to be? It’s is not just sexual but all rounded abuse, from child labour, exploitation not only at homes but also at schools. Every day there is something that is reported as well as that which is never reported. But what we always fail to mention is that abuse and exploitation on children has a direct correlation with what we are currently experiencing as a malformed society.

It is a cycle that we fail to identify its source: an abused child. Who later grows up to either do the same or worse.

A National Survey in 2013 found…

 “Current levels (12 months prior to the survey) of violence reported by 13 to 17 year olds indicated that 11% of females and 4% of males experienced sexual violence and 49% of females and 48% of males experienced physical violence. For females, the most common perpetrator of sexual violence was a boyfriend /romantic partner (25%), followed by neighbor (20%) and then friends/classmates (20%). For males, the most common perpetrator was friends/classmates (35%) followed by girlfriend/romantic partner (30%) followed by neighbor (23%).

Similar to lifetime events reported by 18 to 24 years olds, mothers and fathers were the most common perpetrator of physical violence by family members. As with the lifetime events measure, teachers were the most common perpetrator of physical violence by a public authority figure; followed by police for males. Only 28% of females and 35% of males, age 13 to 17 who had experienced sexual violence and 11% of females and 16% of males, age 13 to 17, who experienced physical violence, knew of a place to go to seek professional help for physical violence knew of a place to go to seek professional help for physical violence. Ultimately less than 10% of those who had experienced either sexual or physical violence actually received any professional help.”

Read also: Are you dating your cousin?

There are consequences ranging from health effects, psychological, behavioral as well as societal consequences. What I will focus on are behavioral consequences. 

An abusive parent did most likely experience an abusive childhood. They do not see it as anything wrong because it was also done to them. When you hear about a parent who has hacked his or her own family with a ‘panga’ or burned them alive as well as themselves, those are suicidal thoughts that have finally taken a toll on the said party. This is one of the long term effects of child abuse.

Difficulties as an adolescent range from creating attachment with people you have just met as well as taking risks sexually, which explains some of the ‘ratchetness’ we see at various social gatherings and groupies by young people. I am not saying that all people who do that have been sexually abused but there is some inherent truth to this. It is part of being neglected by either the parents, so one looks for affection elsewhere.

Abused children are more prone to violence, against their peers and eventually when they grow up. It may also lead to juvenile criminal behavior as well.

Read also: 3 sex tips from a 100-year-old

So when we are busy saying that today’s young people are not well brought up and misbehave, consider that it is true, because you are the one bringing them up. And let’s be honest, we do not have an adequate system whereby abused children can report abusive behavior especially in the rural areas. Setting up a toll-free line can only go so far. Where do you expect them to get phones or even money to go make the call? And not all call centers are efficient, at times it may not even be sexual abuse. How about exploitation in the home, rarely does a neighbor step in.

It has also reaches a point where they themselves are not even sure what is exploitation such as doing housework during school days and foregoing school as compared to helping in chores.

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