Corona virus pandemic has now become a threat in the nation and everyone in the streets including girls and women are full of anxiety and fear of how they will survive this pandemic with the strict measures put in place by the government. Closure of learning institutions was one of the first and best measure put in place to prevent students from social gatherings which would put them at high risk of contracting the virus and infecting other students within the environment. However, do you know that School closure during this corona virus in Kenya risks exposing girls to sexual violence and teenage pregnancies? This will also lead to sex abuse and high rate of consensual teen sex.
Do you think we have safe spaces for girls during this pandemic?
Schools and religious institutions have been serving as a very critical role as a safe space for girls , Now the girls have no option but to stay at home where we have most of the perpetrators; these could be the close relatives or even neighbors. Marginalized and vulnerable girls will be the most affected due to the high economic challenge that has hit the nation where most of their caregivers businesses have been directly affected and getting food has become another big challenge. This means that the girls are at high risk of engaging in sexual activities in order to have something to put in the stomach despite the measure of social distancing .Who knows what are happening in the household right now? May be we will know after the pandemic when we will be seeing results of quarantine. Just wait and see!!!!!!
Therefore it is the responsibility of the Health advocates, human rights defenders and the government to address the issue by providing access to sexual health information and services including reinforcing sexual violence hotlines and making public announcements about the heavy punishment and penalty for rape. However this might be difficult for the girls to report the cases via calls because they are now closer to the perpetrators and so there is no privacy.