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EDITORIAL

Age of consent should be lowered to 16 years

In Summary

• Half of Kenyan girls have had sex by 18 years of age and 25 percent have given birth.

• For boys, 56 percent have had sex by the age of 18 years

A file photo of Secondary school girls doing a performance.
VULNERABLE: A file photo of Secondary school girls doing a performance.
Image: FILE

The age of consent should be raised to 20 years old, according to Indimuli Kahi, the chairman of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association.

Kahi was reacting to the Court of Appeal which in March suggested that the age of consent should be reduced from 18 to 16 years.

It is profoundly unrealistic to consider raising the age of consent rather than lowering it.

According to the Demographic Health Survey, 15 percent of Kenyan women have first sexual intercourse by age 15 and 50 percent by age 18. For boys, 22 percent have first sexual intercourse by age 15 and 56 percent by age 18.

Therefore, according to the law, half of Kenyan adolescents are criminals because they are illegally having sex below the age of 18. 

Around 25 percent of girls have already given birth by the age of 18.

Many young men are unfairly sent to jail for defilement because they have consensual sex with their age-mates. 

The Court of Appeal was right, we should consider lowering the age of consent to 16 years to reflect the realities of our society.

Quote of the day: "Ageing's alright, better than the alternative, which is not being here."

George H. W. Bush

The 41st American president was born on 12 June, 1924