Apply Sexual Offences Act impartially to stop cases of defilement and protect boys also

A private primary school teacher Fredrick Mwangi Wango is led to the prisons cells at Milimani law court after Principal Magistrate David Ndungi found him guilty of defiling a 13 years old minor at Mathare Estate in 2016. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

One of the most dynamic pieces of legislation ever enacted in Kenya happens to be the Sexual Offences Act. At least according to me. There are Kenyans who find it biased, and instead of pointing out its flaws, conclude that it does not protect the boy child.

Their concerns should not be dismissed even as they fail to understand that the biasness comes out only in the application and interpretation of the Act by certain judicial officers.

That said, it has been seen to zealously over protect one gender even as some judges and magistrates have applied it in favour of boys and men — and certain people were still not amused.

In certain circumstances, they have laughed off decisions based on the Act that favour boys and men, because according to them, this gender has to be on the wrong in all cases of sexual offences.

But that is not the case, and the police in Malava sub-County of Kakamega can attest to this. First, they are decrying the high number of defilement cases and about 13 children have been victims between January and February 20 this year alone.

But they are getting surprised that boys are the biggest victims, and according to our writer Jackline Iyanji, a 15-year-old boy is the latest victim of an 18-year-old woman.

The area police boss, Paul Mwenda fears that the cases could be higher since many are not reported, and is now calling on church leaders, activists, educationists and parents to champion the welfare of the children. He said that most cases do not reach the courts due to lack of birth certificates and witnesses, culture and bribery.

He said such cases used to be higher during the festive season of December, but are now becoming normal during other months, meaning the perpetrators are within the community and have been emboldened because no action is ever taken.

This where the Act needs to come in to force, and to applied fully regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or that of the victim.