The discussion began by my colleague Grace doing the introductory part on what gender based violence is all about. She narrowed down to the forms of gender based violence and their causes. The forms of GBV discussed included;
- Sexual harassment
- Female genital mutilation. (FGM)
Sexual harassment is a common form of sexual violence that occurs almost everywhere including workplace, streets, school and at homes. It is ignored in some occasions but it is an immoral act and a violation of an individual’s right to privacy. Both gender are affected by this act but women are the most affected. The common causes include;
- Dressing codes exposing some private body parts more so by the ladies.
- Influence of drugs.
- Favor purposes e.g. employment or financial support.
Ways of avoiding sexual harassment include;
- Decent dressing codes.
- Suing or reporting those who attempt the act.
Female Genital Mutilation.
This is a common cultural practice among some African communities that involves total or partial removal of the clitoris of a female. The communities attribute it to an initiation practice and a rite of passage that enhances virginity but it is against the human rights because it has a lot of dangerous effects to the girl child including complications during birth, risk of infections, excessive bleeding and in some cases death. Ending this act has been a great challenge because girls who are forced to this process do not report the cases because of fear of being ex-communicated. Also being a cultural practice, some girls are threatened of not getting married if they don’t undergo the process. For this matter, the only way of ending or reducing prevalence of this process is by sensitizing the girls and mothers on the dangers of this act to their reproductive health.
I facilitated the next phase of the session which involved detailed discussion on rape, defilement, prep and pep.
Rape and defilement.
These are some of the most common forms of gender based violence in our society. Rape is defined as forcefully having sex with someone who is 18 years and above. Defilement on the other hand refers to forceful sex with an individual who is below 18 years of age. Possible causes of rape include;
- Walking in lonely places at night.
- Accepting gifts from strangers.
- Misunderstanding in marriages.
- Poor dressing code that exposes private body parts.
Ways of avoiding rape incidences.
- Avoid lonely places at night.
- Avoid accepting gifts from strangers.
- Avoid bad touches with individuals of opposite sex.
- Avoid exposing private body parts.
N/B Nothing justifies rape no matter the case. Everyone’s sexual rights and decision has to be respected no matter the situation or case.
Dos and DONTS of rape.
I also shared with the students the Dos and DONTS of rape. Dos refers to the things or actions one should take in case she is raped. The DONTS refer to the actions or things an individual should not do in case she is raped.
Dos of rape include;
- One should report to the nearest health center or police station.
- One should report to the health center within 72 hours from the time she is raped.
DONTS of rape include;
- One should not change her clothes to avoid interfering with the evidence.
- One should not bathe to avoid washing the evidence.
- One should not go for a short call before reporting to the health Centre.
- One should remove any material from the scene of incident.
- One should not brush or comb her hair.
PEP- post exposure prophylaxis.
These are drugs given to protect one from the risk of the getting infected after exposure to a risk such as rape case or injury from cutting objects. These drugs also protects one from unwanted pregnancy in cases of rape. The drugs are usually administered within 72 hours after exposure to the risk. Pre exposure prophylaxis also protects one from HIV infection if they are administered within 72 hours after exposure to risk. Within 72 hours, the HIV virus hasn’t started multiplying rapidly and at this point when the drugs are administered they are able to kill the virus completely and prevent contraction of the disease.
PREP- pre exposure prophylaxis.
These are drugs given to an individual before being exposed to a risk that can cause infection e.g. sexual intercourse. They are supposed to be taken 7 days before one getting involved in sexual intercourse and even after the activity one should continue taking the drugs. They usually have a brand name known as Truvada.
Question and answer section.
The last phase of the session was of questions and answers. The students asked a number of questions which were answered successfully. Some of the questions which were raised include;
Can a boy be raped?
Can a girl be raped by her father?
What should a girl do if she wants to be raped by her father?
The school outreach was successful. The students were very interactive and we believe we impacted knowledge that would help in changing the lives of a few if not all. Thanks so much to Thika Girls Kibaribi Principal, the guidance and counselling teacher Madam Grace and the whole of Thika Girls fraternity for the warm welcome.
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