“Tell her that her body belongs to her and her alone, that she should never feel the need to say yes to something she does not want, or something she feels pressured to do. Teach her that saying no when no feels right is something to be proud of.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
If one is to take into consideration, the reactions and comments coming from Kenyans around the country and the globe, then we would be in confusion as to know which side to take in the current issue concerning the age of sexual consent in the country which judges have said should be reduced from 18 to 16 years.
It all began after three judges stirred the proverbial pot by proposing that the age of consent should be reduced. The judges who were reversing a 15-year-sentence of a man who impregnated a 17-year-old girl, ruled that despite the age of consent was 18 years, the 17-years-old girl cannot deny that she didn’t know what she was getting into during the sexual escapades and therefore should not expect to hide under the law as one below the age of consent.
The judges also proposed that there needs to be a prompt review of the country’s Sexual Offences Act – a proposal that has raised so many reactions from Kenyans.
Delivering the ruling, the judges said:
“Our prisons are teeming with young men serving lengthy sentences for having had sexual intercourse with adolescent girls whose consent has been held to be immaterial because they were under 18 years.”
The judges went further to argue that it was sheer hypocrisy to deceive ourselves by claiming that teenagers and maturing adults under the age of 18 years do not engage in sex, the judges, therefore, advised that parties involved should discuss challenges of maturing children, morality, autonomy, protection of children and the need for proportionality in punishing sex offenders.
“We need to add as we dispose of this appeal that the Act does cry out for a serious re-examination in a sober and pragmatic manner,” they added.What is Sexual Consent?
Sexual consent is an agreement by both parties to participate in sexual activity. This simply means that before you are permitted to have sex with someone, you need to know if they are interested in having sex with you too.
It is bounded by law that both parties involved must agree to sex — every time — for it to be consensual.What is the Age of Consent?
The age of consent is the age at which a person can legally consent to have sexual intercourse. By law, having sex with a person who is younger than the age of consent is regarded as rape.
The current age of consent in many countries is 18.
In 2017 however, Tunisia raised the age of consent from 13 to 16.
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