Sad as FIDA backs proposal to reduce sexual consent age from 18 to 16

FIDA national chair Josephine Mongare at a recent event in Naivasha. /COURTESY

The Federal of Women lawyers has defended the controversial bill that aims to lower the age of sexual consent from 18 to 16 citing that it is meant to protect teenage boys.

This comes after some members of the public signed a petition seeking to stop parliament from revising the age of sexual consent.

It is feared the amendment could open the floodgates of teenage pregnancies and early marriages.

At the moment, it is a crime to have sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18 years.

A person who commits an offence of defilement with a child under the stated age is liable, upon conviction, to a jail term not less than fifteen years.

Josephine Mongare, FIDA national chair, told the Star that the bill aims at protecting young teenagers who have suffered long sentences of 15 years and above for sexual offences that involve girls of their peers.

“If you do an audit now in our prisons you will find young boys of 20 and 21 years serving jail terms over sexual offenses involving their peers and their life is ruined, this bill is meant to save teenage boys who the law leans on them alone when it comes to sexual offenses,” Mongare said.

She further pointed out that the law as at now provides that sexual offenders be listed on a permanent register, a situation she says has ruined many teenagers’ lives.

“Once you are profiled on the sexual offenders register, then you are unlucky,” she said.

When assented to, the proposed law will give room for a review of the punishment meted on sexual offenders by considering the age gap between the offender and the victim.

“If the age gap is 2 years or three years, then the court will be considerate in passing its judgement. But if the man is 25 years-old or more, then the court will be able to determine that such a person knew they committed the offence with a child,” the FIDA boss said.

The age of consent varies in various countries with Angola recording it at 12 years while Burkina Faso has set 13 as the year for official adult consent.

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