Matters relating to sexual consent has been in a hot topic in Kenya, which is my birthplace. This stems after the Court of Appeal-one of Kenya’s highest court- made a ruling which advised that the age of consent be lowered from 18 to 16. The reason for such a ruling was made in light of many men languishing in jail after impregnating teenage girls that could be considered as “adults”. These men were charge with defilement which is a serious crime in Kenya where perpetrator can garner life imprisonment.
The big question still remains, Is Kenya ready for this? Very many parents voiced their opinions online and they were furious. This is in light of a report in November 2018, that showed that 1 in every 5 girls in Kenya gets pregnant between the ages of 15 to 19. This is catastrophic for a country. It begs the question that if age of consent was lowered, how bad would the situation be?
Maybe I am jumping the gun here. Lets look at the situation objectively. What are the pros of lowering the age of sexual consent?
· Fewer people would languish in prison for defilement based charges.
On the other hand, what are the cons of lowering the age of sexual consent?
· Rise in teenage pregnancies that make many girls drop out of school so that they can raise their young
· Teenage girls who get pregnant are highly likely to develop problems during childbirth since their reproductive organs are not well developed. Complications such as fistula are more prevalent in these girls. Fistula is a hole that occurs between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman incontinent of urine, feces or both.
· Many adults would take advantage of the situation and prey on these young girls
· Rise in spread of HIV/AIDS among the youth
If and so the age of consent should be lowered, sex education as well as access to birth control should be made a priority. But is Kenya, a very conservative state ready for this?
For you my dear readers, air your thoughts by leaving a comment below.