Friday, December 18, 2009


Incest is rife among Kenyan teenagers, a new study has revealed.

According to the National Council for Children’s Service, adolescents admitted having sex with close relatives like uncles and aunts. Most vulnerable are girls aged 10-15, but older and younger girls are also defiled with most cases unreported.

The research, conducted between 1990 and 2008 in 45 institutions countrywide, says boys and girls engage in multiple sexual relationships, but their knowledge on strategies to prevent pregnancy and infection is limited. “Most students had unprotected sex with their peers and some have had sex with uncles, aunts and sugar daddies,” says the report.

The report says boys under the care of househelps and relatives are more vulnerable as many parents assume boys are not sexually abused. A report released by the Centre for the Study of Adolescents in October said teenage girls were selling their bodies for airtime, chips and even sanitary pads. They were also said to be sleeping with different partners — some admitted having as many as six in six months.

The research says that irresponsible sexual behaviour among adolescents may not be attributed to lack of adequate awareness of HIV and Aids, but to factors like assessment of one’s partner’s status and feelings of prestige.

Parents were again in the spotlight for delegating parental roles to institutions of learning and househelps.

Speaking at the official launch of the report in Nairobi, Gender, Children and Social Services minister Esther Murugi accused parents of poor parental care. “Responsibility is left to teachers and househelps and this is how our children are destroyed,” she said.

Ms Murugi said that although the report did not include children’s homes, her ministry had found that several of them were dens of child defilement and cash-cows for unscrupulous individuals. Ms Murugi said her ministry had stopped issuing licences to children’s homes until all the registered 800 are vetted.

Another report released by The Cradle last week said unmonitored use of technology was exposing youngsters to harm, with most accessing social networking sites through mobile phones.

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