Gender-based Violence in Primary Schools: Kenya

GBV is still the least talked about violation of (mainly women’s and girls’) human rights and remains either largely unreported. The results of this study have shown the magnitude and forms of prevalence of SRGBV among primary school students as well as the students’ emotional expressions of these experiences—causing girls and also boys aged 10–13 years to be afraid to report or share GBV challenges because the abusers are their family members, teachers, neighbors, and friends. The effects are detrimental to learning experiences, especially among preadolescent and adolescent girls, and hence these students are left with no option but to make personal decisions to deal with the menace—either by transferring to another school, skipping classes, or keeping quiet and suffering alone. Having limited options, many of these girls are left to share their challenges with the same people, potentially abusers themselves, who may be unwilling to take any action. The causes of SRGBV originate from lack of social support, guidance, and counseling from both parents and teachers. They include a lack of appropriate interventions and policy enforcement to deal with perpetrators. In identifying the forms of SRGBV and targeting the underlying causes, it is paramount to look at interventions that may enhance school and community involvement and participation in addressing SRGBV while ensuring concerted actions against any form of gender-based discrimination and violation of rights. The study findings are critical: it is a wake-up call for policymakers that the victims of GBV are not only women but also the preadolescent girls and boys who stay quiet out of fear. How long must these young minds suffer? Will they be able to learn and complete school? What about the quality of their education? What about their health and emotional status, their well-being? We have policies against GBV. We must make them enforceable and helpful to give victims a voice and hope in life.