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Kenyan judges say age of consent should be lowered to 16

Kenyan judges say age of consent should be lowered to 16

Kenya

Kenyans have taken to social media to share their views on a proposal by the country’s court of appeal to lower the age of consent from 18 to 16.

Three judges, while reversing a 15-year-sentence of a man who impregnated a 17-year-old girl, ruled that it was high time the country considered a revision of the Sexual Offences Act.

“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 ruled.

Arguing that it is unrealistic to assume that teenagers and maturing adults do not engage in sex, the judges counseled that 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.”

Kenyans react

Lowering the age of consent will disaproponately affect girls. Most will drop out of school. Let it remain at 18 years. Most teenagers lack proper sex-related education. This is a disaster in waiting

— ChairMan KIM ?? (
KimMutinda) March 26, 2019

Beyond Kenya

In most countries across the continent, children become adults at the age of 18, which bestows upon them privileges and responsibilities including voting, permission to drive, consume alcohol and consent to a sexual relationship.

In 2017, Tunisia raised the age of consent from 13 to 16, in reforms that also outlawed the practice of rapists evading jail time by marrying their victim who are minors.

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