Harriet Kaveta testifying in a case in which her boyfriend has been charged with defiling her while she was a 17 year old, She told the court she willingly slept with the accused who is now her husband. File Photo

A bill has been tabled for the first reading seeking to reduce the age of consensual sex from 18 years to 16 in the country.

This amendment to the Sexual Offences Act is hidden in The Statue Law (Miscellaneous Amendment Bill) 2016.

With increasing protests against the amendment from rights campaigners who advocate for the rights of the girl child, Federation of Women Lawyers chairperson Josephine Mong’are has defended the amendment saying it seeks to protect the boy child.

“The boy child has become the unintended victim of the Sexual Offences Act. A lot of teenagers are in relationships without their parents knowledge.

If the girl’s mother does not like the fact that you have a boyfriend, they go to the police station and claim rape or defilement,” Monga’re told the Star on phone.

Mong’are who led a team in coming up with the amendment said it is aimed at introducing Romeo and Juliet clauses in the act which concern young adults or teenagers who are a few years apart and have willingly had sexual relations.

“The amendments have nothing to do with protecting predators. If the amendments are passed, they will enable magistrates have the ability to make a decision in determining if this was a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship as opposed to it being presented as a defilement case,” Mong’are said.

The bill is now under the departmental committee on Justice and Legal Affairs for consideration who will thereafter report to the house.

Kenyans have until 27th December to give their views on the matter.