I saw a comment on Facebook about how people trust pastors and doctors and yet they are the ones messing us up. When I think of Mugo wa Wairimu I imagine how trusting women have gone to his clinic and when he tells them that they should take a pill they trustingly do so. After all you can trust your doctor right? Not necessarily. A friend of mine in University told us how she was sexually assaulted by her male gynecologist when she was a teenager as her mother sat outside. She was too ashamed to tell her mum what happened. I don’t remember if she eventually told her mum but until now she doesn’t trust doctors.
Well times have changed. The people that we used to trust namely medical professionals, teachers and preachers are the ones who are preying on us or our children. It used to be that the three were the most respected people in the village (according to my mother). I was born in the city but growing up it was the same. When one of these three told you something you obeyed without questioning.
But now we can no longer be naive and trust anything we are told. It does not make that this particular doctor was a quack, the patients didn’t know that. I heard doctors on Citizen this morning saying that a doctor’s certificates should be on the wall but how many of us check for them? The Medical Practitioners and Dentists board should have been more vigilant so that such quacks would not be able to operate.
But even though Mugo wa Wairimu a quack there are still so-called “good doctors” out there asking patients to have surgeries that are not necessary so that they can collect some high fees. Many have also botched surgeries which they have not been held accountable for even though patients have complained. Some people have even died from such procedures including one of my favourite writers Wahome Mutahi. Yet many of these doctors are still practicing. And let’s not even go into the very common practice of doctors prescribing unnecessary medications patients don’t need because they have insurance. I don’t want to be sued but some hospitals are notorious for this and also giving patients expired drugs. The Kenya Medical practitioners board needs to as Michael Jackson said “take a look in the mirror and make that change”.
In schools nowadays we hear of teachers who have gotten girls pregnant. This has happened over a long period of time and this year is the first time the TSC has really been bothered to come up with a solution for a problem that is widespread. Most of the time the solution has been to move teachers to other schools thereby compounding the problem. Some of these teachers are HIV + and they ruin the lives of young girls not just mentally and physically but health wise as well.
We saw the story of Pastor Kanyari a couple of months back. There are many priests and pastors out there who are Kanyari types who have not been busted. The Catholic Church has always buried its head in the sand and refused to see or acknowledge the sexual assault of both girls and boys by priests. Now is when they are finally acknowledging the problem. The protestant churches have also not been left behind, there have been scandals in the church, pastors sleeping with congregants or choir members yet nobody says anything. Some unscrupulous pastors telling women who can’t have children that their seed is holy and they that must sleep with them in order to get a baby. I saw something the other day I think it was in South Africa where the pastor asked women to give him blow jobs claiming his sperm was holy. Then there are the pastors who touch women inappropriately telling them that he must touch the area which needs prayers for him to extend healing.
It is sad that so many women and children are gullible and naïve, they trust authority too much and will not question the authority figure telling them to do something. Maybe it’s time we teach all women and children that song about private parts that we teach our children so that nobody tries to interfere with their private parts. I know it sounds funny but we need to have this conversation.
Even though Mugo wa Wairimu is a quack there are other doctors or medical professionals like nurses or clinical officers who have taken advantage of vulnerable people.
So what are the solutions?
Education. Teach women and children of both sexes that their private parts are private and should not just be accessed by just anybody. This includes telling them where they can report issues of abuse. One of the problems with reporting abuse is sometimes the person you should report to is the one who is abusing you. There was that story last week of that disabled girl who was raped by a policeman; he colluded with the boda boda guy to make sure the girl is taken to his house.
I think sometimes some mothers think they should wait until girls are starting their periods to tell them about sex and telling them to keep away from men. It is important that as soon as a child is old enough to comprehend it to tell them about keeping their privates private and not letting anybody touch them inappropriately. Tell them to report inappropriate touching.
Create an atmosphere where children can come to report abuse. Parents or guardians should be approachable so that children can report issues of concern. Some parents are told by their children that they are being abused and they are not believed. Such children end up resenting such parents for not believing them and stopping the abuse.
The government should make sure the law is upheld. When teachers are reported to be engaging in underage sex they should be arrested. This idea of the police and the community facilitating in the process of the teachers paying fines for making girls pregnant should end.
Teachers caught in such scandals should be taken to court and if found guilty should be dismissed. It doesn’t help to just label them; it is a crime worse than stealing or some other stuff that can get one dismissed from the public service. It should also be put into the system so that if they try to get teaching jobs their records will come up. The TSC has started doing it by banning 96 teachers but more needs to be done. There are many teachers who have messed girls lives who are still teaching.
Women need education on sexual matters. Sometimes I think we assume that women understand some of these things but the fact that women are allowing themselves to be taken advantage of speaks volumes about the issue and that there is a gap.
Also The Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board needs to be serious about creating a professional environment. This means that it should regularly carry out inspections of premises of businesses of health professionals. It should also take seriously complaints by patients about doctor malpractice. The issue of cover ups should end.
The church should also clean up its house. Jesus would not be pleased. If he cleared people out of the temple image what he would do now. The church has been turned into a den of thieves and sexual wickedness. It is time for the church to wake up and clean up its house. The National Council of Churches need to take a more active role in ensuring that rogue pastors are dealt with. There should be a mechanism for vetting pastors and defrocking bad apples.
The police/government should take such matters seriously. How many rapists are now walking around free, especially the rich because they can afford to pay off the police or prosecutors and buy justice? The police are supposed to have experts who can deal with sexual abuse but are they being professional when carrying out their jobs. One of my friends had a nasty experience when she went to see a police doctor.
As long as we bury our heads in the sand these issues will continue to come up. We need to stand up to be counted. We need to hold people accountable. Sometimes we turn this stuff into jokes or memes but there are people suffering. To us it is a story but for others it is their nightmare. Let us not turn a blind eye, let us be our brother’s keeper.
Potentash Founder. A creative writer. The Managing Editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories and stories about the inclusion of minorities. Find me at email@example.com.
“We're all stories, in the end.” ― Steven Moffat