This Abuse of Young Girls by Our Schools is a Shame. How can this be Acceptable?

4 mins read

These young Kenyan kids went to their new schools to start a new level of their education. They went there with their books, school uniforms, and their personal care needs to start that new exciting journey for them. The kids forgot one thing. They should have left any hair on their heads at home and since they didn’t do that, the school took them through the humiliating ritual of having their heads clean-shaven.

Are the boys’ heads shaved too in these schools? No. They are boys and they are real human beings and can grow their hair if they so wish. This is just simple child abuse and predictably our politicians can’t see this for what it is. How do these kids feel after this kind of experience?

They get the message that they are lesser human beings than their brothers in the school and elsewhere. How is that supposed to help these young kids grow their self-esteem and be confident that they can achieve anything they want if they work hard in school?

Already young girls in Kenya face one of the most grave forms of abuse called Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which often leads to some kids dying from the abuse and others infected with all sorts of diseases. Culture is Culture and I am not a cultural expert but FGM is human mutilation and may have had its place at some point in our history as Kenyans, but we know enough now to tell our kids that they will not be subjected to that form of mutilation.

Has anybody ever bothered to explain to girls and women what the benefits of FGM are to them? I never heard any such explanation.

People can talk about circumcision all day and night and I have absolutely no interest in any such discussion but we have to draw the line when it comes to abuse of our little girls while talking all the time about girl power and all the trendy little phony stuff that politicians talk about all the time.

I have met and discussed the FGM issue and its impact with many Kenyans including Kenyan women who went through the process as young girls. We seem to have a general consensus that FGM is just plain horrible for young girls and we need to get rid of the cultural debate about something so deadly to young people who are literally forced to undergo the process.

These kids are not at the age to make informed consent to have FGM. If grown-up women want to have FGM and they consent to it that is none of anybody’s business except their own.

So while we keep fiddling and fumbling about what to do with FGM, can the CS for Education make it clear that abuse of young girls in schools like that terrible hair-cutting ritual will not be tolerated in any school in Kenya?

Those kids at school are under the protection of the Kenyan government and the public officials responsible for their education. Let us hold the government officials responsible for their treatment while in school.

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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