RISING CASES

How society can protect at risk girls from sexual abuse

Communities that begin to talk openly about will be critical in protecting young girls

In Summary

• The fact that matters on sex are considered taboo in some communities makes it difficult to speak about it hence solve issues of abuse.

• The community should find ways of helping vulnerable girls like orphans that may not have any source of income from the risk of exchanging sex for food, 

Schoolgirls.
TEEN PREGNANCIES ON THE RISE: Schoolgirls.
Image: FILE

Community and the neighbours can play an important role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the vulnerable girls and women against being sexually abused through child marriage; gender-based violence; child prostitution; sexual abuse and exploitation within the community, as the latest survey on Kenya health information system reports that more than 151,433 school going girls were  expectant between January and May.

During this period, many sexual abuse and exploitation cases were reported by some communities as an especially complex issue to deal with. This may be because of difficult decisions about formal reporting and engagement with the law enforcement and judicial system, and the social implications in terms of attitude, stigma and sometimes discrimination in the community. 

Communities need to mobilize themselves, including teenage and young girls, to identify, these issues as a prerequisite for prevention and awareness-raising which is one of the primary responsibilities of any community.

The fact that matters on sex are considered taboo in some communities makes it difficult to speak about it hence solve issues of abuse. Communities that begin to talk openly about will be critical in protecting young girls. Educating girls about their rights, providing a good environment and encouraging them to report their perpetrators will go a long way in reducing cases of sexual assault. 

Mobilising the government or non-governmental organisations to establish youth friendly centres within their community for teenage girls and young women can have access to sexual reproductive health services and psychological support.

The community should be encouraged to work with local social workers to identify the information needed by teenage girls, and in finding engaging ways to get messages across to teenage girls on the best way to protect themselves.

The community should find ways of helping vulnerable girls like orphans that may not have any source of income from the risk of exchanging sex for food, shelter or things like sanitary towels which may expose them to abuse.

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