Loud Whispers of Misery

Loud Whispers of Misery

By Praxides Mavale, (@Praxides_mavale)

She cuts the figure of a run-down woman almost crumbling at the sheer weight of the world on her tiny shoulders.

Atieno* is just sixteen years old, yet in her tiny world, she has been to hell and back.

When we meet Atieno at her grandmother’s house in Bonde village, she tells us about her unhealed scars.

Yet Atieno doesn’t exhibit the normal signs of injuries. For she has a bigger sickness-in her mind!

Psychosocial trauma is a major problem bedeviling many a young person today.

When Atieno opens up to tell the devastating post exposure experiences after procuring an unsafe abortions, she evokes a deep empathy of what she had to go through and how life would have played out differently.

Sometimes a person may get away with the physical risks of procuring an unsafe abortion, but the psychological scars live forever.

When she got the news that she was pregnant, she thought it was just a funny joke that the body was plying on her.

Yes, she had engaged in unprotected sex with a local village boy but surely she couldn’t have been pregnant. Not at sixteen!

What would people say? What would happen to her now?

She had to get rid of her public source of ridicule!!

But because of poverty and a restrictive legal environment on unsafe abortions in Kenya, Atieno was referred to a quack operating in a dingy corner of Kisumu City’s sprawling slums.

She was scared, hoping for the best while expecting the worst.

It’s the worst that would happen.

She had never seen so much blood ooze out of a person. The pain was excruciating, searing and unignorable.

Perhaps, her date with the maker was closer than she had imagined.

She ended up going to the back street attendant who managed to stop the bleeding, but permanently tempered with her cervix and womb.

Her pains were later to be compounded with the disappearance of her sugar bear.

But Atieno isn’t alone in all this. Statistics paint a grim picture of the Kenyan youth. Unsafe abortions are so common, yet nobody talks about them.

There is need to address women’s rights issues and the rights of other marginalized population’s including young people.

Many young women die due to unsafe abortions.

The higher costs of treating complications from unsafe abortions pushes women further into greater poverty.

Complications resulting from pregnancy are the leading causes of deaths for young women of ages 15-19 because they lack proper information and access to youth friendly services.

If only young people could have access to information and youth friendly services…..

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There’s something our parliament can do to make young people more than just statistics- they can pass the Reproductive Health Care Bill 2014 and fast track access to information and services by young people.

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