Effects of gender-based violence on learners in Primary schools in Kasarani District, Nairobi County
Barasa, Sarah F.
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The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Kenyan Constitution proclaim that children are to be protected from any kind of harm, violence or abuse. Despite the legal provisions and efforts to reduce and eliminate violence against children, particularly girls, violence and abuse are widespread in Kenya - taking place at home, in schools, and in the community at large. Cognizant of the prevalence of violence against school pupils, this study examined the effects of school-related gender- based violence in Kenya. The study sampled pupils and teachers from primary schools in Kasarani District of Nairobi County. Data were collected using questionnaires, interview guides and focus group discussion guides, analyzed using frequency distributions percentages. The study results indicate that school-related gender-based violence is an extremely grave problem. 9.6% of the respondents reported that they had been sexually assaulted at one time within the school environment by way of fondling their body parts, assaulted by both male and female perpetrators. 53% agreed that they had undergone one way of psychological abuse or the other, while 75% had suffered physical violence. The results further revealed a significant disparity in reporting patterns of each form of violence. These were influenced by several variables; reporting acts of sexual abuse for instance was influenced by the taboo surrounding matters of sex and fear of reprisals from the perpetrators. The fmdings also demonstrated that sexual abuse by teachers was also more widespread than the teachers themselves cared to admit. Consequently, both boys and girls suffered adverse effects on their learning experiences, their health and well being. This study concludes that there was overwhelming evidence that boys and girls continue suffering as a result of GBV albeit in silence and that there is a notable absence of attention to this issue in policy making, which is a critical strategic entry point if the effects of GBV on pupils are recognized. This study recommends that GBV prevention efforts must address the gender norms while response interventions should encompass reporting and referral procedures alongside health care psychosocial assistance, security and legal justice for victims.