Sun. Aug 25th, 2019

GUSII STAR

Serving the rural People

Activists call for harsher penalties for sex pests amid raise of vice

3 min read

Airi Kahara the international solidarity Foundation Regional Director (second left )with kisii county cec youths ,gender Duke Mainga and other official cutting the cake during the launch of Muungano Gender forum. Photo/ Brighton makori.

Gender activists in Kisii have called for stiffer penalties for men responsible for teenage pregnancies.

The activists said harsher punishment may stem the tide of rape, incest and defilement blamed for high rates of teenage pregnancies.

At least three out of ten underage girls get pregnant in Nyamira county, while in neighboring Kisii, it is two out of ten, according to data  released by Muungano Gender Forum, a lobby group.

 Agency advocacy officer Joel Machuka questioned the level of preparedness by authorities in the region to tackle teenage pregnancies.

“For now, it is not a question of how but who is ready to address this challenge,” Machuka said during the agency’s monthly public forum at St Vincent Pastoral Centre in Kisii town.

“We have the Sexual Offences Act but apparently it is not doing enough and that is why am personally calling for more,” Kisii County Leadership Forum secretary  Rachael Otundo said.

Otundo said lack of DNA banks denies victims of sexual offenses access to justice.

It is time the government set up DNA banks in all main county referral hospitals to help in early  detection of suspects responsible for the offenses, he said.

“DNA tests are currently very expensive and beyond the reach of the poor who often are forced to bear the scars of many of these unplanned  pregnancies in their families. Had the government stocked DNA reports in each county it could help in the dispensation of justice for poor victims.”

She called for collective responsibility in addressing teenage pregnancies in schools.

“The church, governments and parents must come together and find long term solutions,” Otundo said.

Gender activist Esnas Nyaramba told the Star she has been invited on many occasions to counsel adolescents infected with HIV, a fact she said compounds an already dangerous situation.

“It worries me more. One has to interrogate if it is the laws that are not enough or it is the society that is not fast catching up with our children,” she said.

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