Safety- Personal Responsibility

January 25, 2022

A suitcase was dropped at the general service unit gate, home to the dreaded Kenyan army. It was abandoned overnight. The security officer, who found the suitcase, got curious and opened it. To his horror, he found a woman’s body stuffed inside; it had been chopped up into smaller pieces. After a lot of media coverage, a man came up and claimed the body to be that of his wife who had been missing for a few days. She was in her early 20s.  According to her father, who later came to identify the body, his daughter had dropped out of school when she was in Form 2. No motive has been established regarding her murder.

Another body of an 18 year old was discovered in a maize plantation with the eyes gourged out. Youth have become a big target for murders in the outskirts of the city, more so women and young girls. The victims are mainly students who have either droppped out of school and are doing odd jobs in and around the city or those who left home because they wanted to stay on their own.

Final exams start at the end of February for the Form 4 classes and the Standard Eight class. The girls in the 4th Form of school across the country are overjoyed to finish Secondary School. They are looking forward to being out of school and living ‘free’ lives. But the above scenarios show there is need for the students to be careful when they go out from school. More crimes are committed against teenagers than any other age group. This age is usually vulnerable, and though we tend to speak to those girls still in school, this week we chose to address those that are leaving school, as they need the lessons most. The sense of freedom that the students feel after finishing school is understandable, 4 years of life in a boarding school are not easy. It is expected that these students will want to be set free, but a lot of caution needs to be taken. The girls, especially, are at  great risk.

Most of the girls said they would like to move out of home while attending college. They said they will have turned 18 years of age and they should not be restricted in their movements. But this is the age we all know that teenagers can become reckless. While in college, they want to experiment with everything and live a carefree life. A student who has been very well-behaved may well find the company of other college students who will introduce them to a life of reckless behavior. Most girls will admit they first drank alcohol when they joined college. Most of these girls also get involved in sexual activities while at college.

The risk is, therefore, very high at this stage of their lives. When at home, one lives a shielded life where the parents and other caregivers keep a keen eye on the teenagers. The need to want to break away from this norm usually has devastating consequences. For some teenagers, it becomes very clear, very quickly that living alone isn’t the best choice, insofar as it’s a choice at all.

Health issues like depression, substance abuse, technology addiction, social struggles, and low self-esteem are some of the risks the graduated girls are bound to face. There is the need for the teenagers to fit in with the rest of their friends living out of home, but some cannot cope, and often find themselves in tricky situations. Relationships gone sour are some of the reasons we are witnessing some of these deaths.  There are girls who have different men funding their lifestyles. They want to live a life that is beyond their financial wherewithal, and because they cannot finance their lifestyles, they often opt for relationships that come with financial benefits at a great cost. Men have been known to fight when they meet at a girl’s house, each claiming to own her. The men most of these girls see and date, are older, leaving their male age mates feeling cheated. When a relationship does not work, especially where money was concerned, the girl will mostly move on to the man who can finance her lifestyle. Revenge from the aggrieved party is not uncommon.

It is unfortunate that the above-mentioned girls had to die in such a horrible manner. There is no clue as to why they were murdered. They could have simply been at the wrong place at the wrong time or been in a relationship with a mentally unstable person. No one deserves to die in this manner, however, no one at all.

There is only so much that we can do regarding safety, but we must try all the same. Being at home and around people who are concerned about one’s safety is very important. Moving out of home may seem like a good idea, but the dangers out there may not make it worthwhile. There is safety in numbers; one is an easy and vulnerable target.

Girls on their way to school.

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