Brian Musyoki from Kenya wrote this blog after attending the RIATT-ESA sponsored children and youth conference at the 2017 PSS forum.
I would like to take this opportunity to share my story. It’s not a story am so proud to share but as it is said “a problem shared is half solved”. My story focuses on acts of violence against children. Violence against children involves the different forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation. I am bitter and sad at how I and the rest of Kenyans are living a lie.
A blind eye is being turned to existing policy passed by the Kenyan parliament to ban corporal punishment in Kenya. Other documents that discourage corporal punishment are: The African Charter on the Rights of Children, the United Nations Convention on Rights of Children and many others. Yet we cannot deny the reality that violence against children is still rampant in households and schools in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and other countries across Africa.
As part of the Kenya Children Assembly we began a campaign towards ending violence against Children hence creating a safe society for children. The fact still remains that with great power comes great responsibility, so it saddens me when I see the campaign failing.
Back in primary school I found corporal punishment the order of the day. Things changed for me when my eyes were opened to the reality of the negative effects of corporal punishment. Personally till now I still hold a grudge against my class five teacher who caned and humiliated me in front of my classmates. In all these years I still have not been able to forgive my teacher. My story is just an example of the hidden stories of children all over Africa.
Just the other day back in school I stood there perplexed while my friend was brutally caned. This is not the first time I have witnessed such these acts of violence against children. I have tried my best to advocate for the rights of these children. Yet it seems my best is not good enough to change the mind sets of teachers and caregivers. People just turn a blind eye on the cry to end violence.
My colleagues and I sometimes take up cases dealing with violence hoping to find justice in the judicial system. The cases take too long to be heard, giving room for the facts to be forgotten and evidence to be tampered with or intentionally destroyed. My fear is that perpetrators do not even fear the harsh penalties they can face if a case is taken to court.
I pray for God to give me strength to stay strong and fight, for even if the battle is lost, the war is still on. My sincere hope is that the various duty-bearers, government and caregivers focus towards ending violence against children. Proper investments and protection for children guarantees a better tomorrow especially for developing countries like Kenya. I believe sharing my story about violence against children will pave way for lasting solutions- like the use of guidance and counselling as an avenue of discipline. #THE SILENT NOISE.