April | 2016 |

Monthly Archives: April 2016

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Sexual Violence against Children Rising in Kisii

Category : Naya Blog

Image Courtesy new.devon.gov.uk

By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson) and Brenda Mageka

While great awareness has been raised about sexual violence against women in Kenya, much less is known about the problem of sexual abuse of children. Studies suggest that more than 7,200 children, including infants, are defiled, molested and sodomised every year.  Experts further believe that many more cases go unreported.

Just recently an 8 year old boy from Kisii County was molested by his own father who is 39 years old. (The pictures are too graphic to share). He molested his own flesh and blood. How wicked and evil people can be at times!

Cases of child sex abuse in Kisii County are on the rise. When you visit Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital and ask about how many cases of child sex abuse they handle in a single day, you will be shocked. The hospital usually receives three cases of child molestation every day. Most of these children are usually between the age bracket of 7-12 years. It is estimated that over 30% of children in Kisii County face sexual abuse of some kind at least once in their lives. This means that 3 out of 10 children in Kisii County have either been molested, defiled or sodomised. Wrap your mind around that and tell me if this is right.

The most disgusting thing about child sex abuse in Kisii County is that in most cases the perpetrator is known to the victim and has no criminal records. It could either be the father, relative or even the neighbor.

Most children who have been molested tend to hide it from others because they are usually threatened and when they speak out their parents cover it up for the fear of social stigma and lack of trust to the government. You can only imagine how many cases go unreported. What is more heartbreaking is that when these cases are reported and taken to court it is usually difficult to get justice for these young children. Corruption at the judiciary and at the police department is a hindrance to justice. Once the brown envelope is handed to them, no justice will ever be found

This has to stop. The sexual victimization of children is ethically and morally wrong. We have to protect the children of Kisii County. In order to stop and prevent child molestation from happening to children in Kisii county, residents of Kisii County and the county government of Kisii must unite and declare war on child sex abuse. This shouldn’t be treated as a favour but as a right protected by the  constitution of Kenya and other legal and policy provisions including the Children’s Act.

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Let’s Talk about Unsafe Abortion

Category : Naya Blog

By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson)

On 27 march in Kuoyo Kaila Kisumu County I saw the consequences of unsafe abortion first hand when a young lady screamed desperately to get help for her 16 year old sister. Immediately I ran towards her house to find her sister in a bad state. I was horrified by what I saw. Anyango was in pain and agony. She had inserted a sharp stick into her cervix in an attempt to terminate her pregnancy but she wasn’t lucky, the stick had broken inside her uterus. Anyango was bleeding profusely and time was not on her side. Sadly she lost a lot of blood and could not endure the pain anymore.  She died when help was on its way.

Anyango’s sister explained to me that Anyango was prepared to take the risk with her health so that she could finish her high school education and go to the university to study nursing and after that get a job and help her family and community. She was their only hope. Now they were left hopeless. “I don’t want what has happened to my sister to happen to any other girl here in Kuoyo Kaila. Tell other girls that they should not be in the habit of doing unsafe abortion because it’s not good. My sister was only afraid” Anyango’s sister whispered to me as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Unfortunately cases of deaths caused by unsafe abortion in Kuoyo Kaila aren’t unusual. In Kisumu county unsafe abortion do happen a lot but women hide it because of the so much stigma associated with abortion. They worry that people will say nasty things about them. In Kenya abortion is not permitted so young girls and women often turn to quacks or midwives or other dangerous option. As a result some women die after the procedure while others suffer complications that haunt them for the rest of their lives.

It is estimated that over 40,000 women die every year because of unsafe abortion. This accounts to 13% of all maternal deaths. Most women in Kenya use extreme measures to end their pregnancy simply because the law doesn’t allow it and they don’t know where to turn to for help and support.

I talked to a senior nurse in Kisumu County and what he revealed to me was shocking. For every ten women who give birth at their medical facility, another woman is treated for complications after an unsafe abortion.  He says unsafe abortion is still a problem in our society and most of his client who are teenagers end up in death or in complications that lead to lifelong problems such as infertility.

The constitution of Kenya under article 43 states that. (1) Every person has the right— (a) to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care. Safe Abortion services falls under reproductive health care. The county government of Kisumu should train its health workers on how to address unsafe abortion and how to offer safe abortion services. The county government of Kisumu should also offer civic education on the dangers of unsafe abortion and also arrest the all quacks.

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