Life in informal settlements and some of the low end housing estates comes with a lot of downsides.
It is not just that residents in these areas have to cope of with daily challenges of subsistence, crime and insecurity; girls, especially, are exposed to sexual harassment.
Stamford University and the Africa Institute for Health and Development, upon conclusion of a study, have released a damning report that shows seven out of every 100 girls in primary school were defiled last year.
Further, the report shows some of the girls became victims at least five times. More depressing is the fact that the victims are aged between 15 and 24 years.
These statistics make case for stringent laws and stiffer penalties to protect young girls from sex predators especially in the informal settlement where law enforcement is weak. More so because beyond the act of defilement, there are other consequences like unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
The report is timely in guiding debate whether the age of consent should be lowered from 18 years to 16 years.
The proposal for lowering the age of consent made by some judges ran into headwinds immediately. Those against the proposal say this would expose young girls to sex predators.
A recent meeting of teachers suggested the age of consent be scaled to 20 years. Their reason is that girls need additional protection against influences that end up ruining their lives.
Thus, any laws or measures that seek to protect girls, giving them an equal footing with boys are welcome.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.