Child abuse is the exposing of children to conditions that do not allow their natural healthy development. It is the subjecting of children to responsibilities meant for adults. In a nutshell child abuse is the misuse of children due to the inability to protect or defend themselves. Child abuse may be caused by many evil forms. They could be, child labor, sexual molestation, child battering and even marrying of underage girls to men old enough to be their guardians. Children have and continued being used for economic production from our homes to our industries. The use of children as house helps is quite rampant. Many children are subjected to this throughout the country, especially in urban areas. They are commonly found in bars. In rural areas they are forced to pick up the cash growing crops like tea, coffee pyrethrum and cocoa. They are treated harshly and are not allowed to bargain on their own terms’ Sexual molestation is also a widespread practice in our country. More often than not we witness or read from the paper that underage children, some as young as two years old have been raped or defiled. They are exposed to prostitution and immoral behavior. In females they are exposed to the female genital mutilation. (FGM)
All these unfortunate incidents have a serious effect on children and their rights to develop normally. They lead to children not going to school and this apart from making them unable to have responsible
Families in future, also has a negative effect in the future development of our country. Child labor and lack of parental care also exposes our children to poor mental and physical development. They are exposed to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/ AIDS related infections. Child prostitution also leads to the increase in the number of street children and destitute. Child abuse should be condemned by all sundry in the society because every child has a right to love, care and protection. Denying children education is tantamount to killing the future of the nation because as we often claim, they are the future leaders.

By: Maureen Wanjiru & Fiona Wairimu
Arap Moi Primary

Child abuse is the act or crime of harming a child physically, sexually or emotionally. It can even be the act of treating a child very badly especially forcing him or her into child labor. Once there was a girl called Jane. She was very hardworking and very competitive. She lived with her uncle and aunt because her father passed away and her mother was working in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Her relatives took great care of her but she felt as if she was a prisoner under her own skin, a prisoner who had to keep looking over her shoulders for she doesn’t know who her tormentors are.

Nevertheless, while she was in standard two, her uncle started abusing her sexually. He raped her many times. She did not understand the seriousness of this until when she got to class five. Her uncle repeatedly abused her
almost every week. There was a particular day when her uncle would rape her. Her aunt used to arrive home from work at around ten o’clock at night. Sometimes when she was in standard six, I started seeing some unusual things happening to her. Her class performance went down, she kept to herself most of the time, and generally she looked unhappy. Occasionally, she could cry for no apparent reason. When in the field for outdoor games, she kept to herself and preferred to sleep on the grass. I was worried of her but I didn’t know what to do to help her.

One day I confidently walked towards her and confronted her and asked the reason as to why she would just sit like that and start crying and why she would miss some lessons. She cried bitterly and in pain while telling me that her uncle has been sexually abusing her since she was in standard two. I was startled. This tickled my mind very much. I confidently confronted the teacher and told her about Jane. This is when the teacher confronted Jane and told her to clearly explain her problems. Before she told the teacher, she was really confused whether to tell her or not. At first, she was also afraid but she knew she couldn’t hide anything forever. She felt as if the world had stopped evolving around her because her uncle told her never to tell anyone.

The teacher took a step and informed the head teacher. The head teacher also took a step and informed the children administration. Jane didn’t want this to go too far but I made her understand that it was for her own good. Her aunt took her to boarding school before they could handle her uncle’s case.Later on, her uncle was taken to a psychologist and was talked to an informed about child abuse. From there, charges were pressed and he was put in prison for four years.What I learnt from Jane was that no one should be trusted. I therefore take great care of myself even when I’m with my kin.

By: Grace Mwaiwa.
Nyamachaki Primary School.

There are various types of child abuse. The types of abuse are physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. First, there is the physical abuse which involves hitting, burning and slapping the child. It is one of the most used abuse. Second there is emotional abuse which entails absence of parental love and care, verbal abuse, lack of appreciation, threats, rejection and discrimination. Emotional abuse has effects like fear, anger, hurt and degradation. Third is neglect which involves lack of parents care and love. If children undergo neglect they go through lots of pressure since they have to feed themselves. Teachers may also be perpetrators by refusing to mark students’ assignments and removing students from class.

Lastly, there is sexual abuse. It is the most disturbing crime committed to a harmless child. It involves asking, pressuring a child to involve in sexual activities in order to satisfy one’s sexual desires. Exposing one’s genitals is also sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is also understood as forced or coerced or tricked sexual behaviour towards a child.

By: Evelyne Nyokabi Wangari
Kabiru-ini Girls School

Child abuse is cruelty and unfair treatment to a child. The following are some of the forms of child abuse: Rape is a crime of forcing someone to have sex by using violence. It affects the victim emotionally and physically. It has led to forced school dropout. It has also led to stigmatization, discrimination and procrastination. Spiritual negligence. This is where a child is denied his rights to worship.

This makes a child to lack moral values like dignity that a religious child should have. Labour is working hard or putting a lot of effort into something. In this case a child is overloaded. The old ditch did not lie when they said, “All work without play makes Jack and Jill a dull boy or girl. This affects the mental thinking of a child. This mainly occurs to orphans and children who live with single parents, because he or she has to provide for their children. Female genital mutilation (FGM). This is where a female child is mutilated. Mutilation is a way of damaging someone’s body permanently by cutting it off or part of it. It mainly leads to death because of over bleeding.

Denied basic needs. Basic needs are things that we need for our daily living. E.g. food, clothing, shelter and other needs such as education and health services. Children may suffer from nutritional deficiency diseases which may be lethal. Lethal means it’s dangerous and capable of killing someone. Lack of education makes the child illiterate. Illiterate means no able to read or write.

Drug trafficking. Trafficking is an illegal business of buying and selling things such as drugs and weapons. It is a catastrophe since a child is forced to sell drugs. This makes the child to lose concentration in class since the child is thinking of how to make money. The child is likely to start using drugs. Negligence is the failure to provide and take care of. This mainly results to low self-esteem. A child is likely o have different feelings. He/she is likely to feel hated, discriminated and may end up committing suicide. In Kenya now the rate of child abuse is forty percent (40%). It is increasing day by day. Everybody should do his or her best to minimize child abuse to the rate of fifteen percent (15%) or less. Let’s stop child abuse.

By: Vera Awino & Yvonne Nkatha

Child labor refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This activity is considered exploitative by many organizations.

Around the world, the gap between rich and poor in the recent decades has forced millions of young children out of school and into work. Children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently work under conditions that are considered illegal, hazardous or extremely exploitative. Underage children work at all sorts of jobs around the world usually because they and their families are extremely poor.

By: Jemima Wairimu, Purity Wanjiru & Lynn Nyanchoka
Arap Moi Primary School

Preventing child abuse in school, child labor refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This activity is considered exploitative by many organizations

Around the world, the gap between rich and poor in the recent decades has forced millions of young children out of school and into work. Children between the ages of 5 and 17 currently work under conditions that are considered illegal, hazardous or extremely exploitative. Underage children work at all sorts of jobs around the world usually because they and their families are extremely poor.

By: Njuki Caroline Mumbi,
Kabiru-ini Girls Secondary School

As it is said, everything that has a beginning also has an end. This shows that child abuse can also need to be protected. They need to be understood and appreciated. There are various ways of preventing child abuse.

The school is major stakeholder in child protection. It can report the abusive parents and even deprive them the right to custody of children if they are incapable of raising them in a proper manner. The schools should also network with other specialized agencies for child abuse. The school can also take more radical steps of starting education on child abuse in school programs.
The school administration can help in preventing child abuse by creating awareness. There are various ways that can be used to create awareness. For instance, parents should be taught on the causes of child abuse and how to handle their children. Members of the society should also be taught how they can help and solve cases of child abuse in the society.
In addition to that, the school administration can also have speak out boxes where students or anyone else can put their suggestions. For instance, a case where a teacher falls in love with a student and the student cannot express it to the people around her but her friend who is concerned can report through the boxes to help her friend.

Moreover, the school can also provide a hotline which is 116 to the members of the society in order to make it easier to report child abuse. The administration should ensure that the parents are given the hotline number during meetings. It will help curb child abuse.
When all barriers are removed and children protected there are benefits that come along. The child who has been protected from child abuse will be able to utilize his/her potential. Also the child’s well-being and that of the future generation is protected.

The other benefit is the promotion of psychological, social, cognitive and physical health. The cycle of violence created by the child abuse will be broken. Another benefit is that it enhances self-discovery, motivation and creativity. It also fulfills the government commitment to international agreement.

In the process of protecting children, there are barrier. The instances are; ignorance, ignorance from people involved might be a problem, discrimination and prejudice, whereby cases of child abuse are handled and others are solved due to family status. In cases where cultural practices are normalized protecting children, for instance, when the country lack legislations on child protection, the children abused will not be helped. Also civil unrest, lack of information, poverty and lack of alternative to customs. If these barriers are evaded the child protection process will be successful.

In conclusion, the cycle of violence must be broken so that we protect today’s children and future generation from violence. As we all know the young generation holds the future of the nation. They should be protected in order to better the economy of the nation.

GVRC Kenya