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There Is No Such Phenomenon As “Girl Gangs”

In comment|BOOK, society|BOOK on December 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm

A hearing of two court cases involving violent crimes committed by teenage girls has raised the question – is there a growing trend of violence among young women throughout Great Britain? Two 17-year-olds involved in one of the noted cases are stubborn in the face of these concerns, stating that there is no such concept of “girl gangs”. 
Apparently, these crimes arise because of nothing but friendship.  Mates have to look out for each other.  If somebody is talking about you behind your back and making threats – this will not pass without action.  “You can’t just go around being bullied”  Tish, one of the girls involved in the hearing, argued that the violence involved in this incident was “not violence, that’s self defence”.

But is it? Inconsideration of the Rosimeiri Boxall case, the 19-year old girl who was tortured and bullied into her death, it is clear that self defence claims prove pitiful. In fact, Hatice Can, 15 and Kemi Ajose, 17 were participating in an example of brutal bullying and torture.  These girls try to blame their actions on their childhood and the character of their parents, but it comes down to an individual conscious choice.  In the previously mentioned case, Tish stated that she feels she has no chance because of her mother.  However, this point is soon brought to a close with the blunt realisation, “I’ve just got a temper on me” 

We can speculate about the ins and outs of violent incidents involving young women, but the statistics speak for themselves.  Even though women from the age of 16-24 have the highest risk of becoming victims of hostile crime in the UK, recent data has shown an increase in individuals turning to crime themselves.  Further to this, women’s rights group Engender have found that within a group of 14- to 21-year-olds, one in three girls and one in two boys thought there were circumstances in which it could be acceptable to hit a woman or force her to have sex.Youth Justice Board figures for last year further show that girls can now be blamed for approx. 21% of criminal offences that reach the courts due to the 50% rise in violent crime committed by young women.

The concern of rising female violence is not just restricted to the UK. Other western European nations report similar trends in female crime.  Over the past 10 years the rate for violent offences involving adolescent girls in Canada has increased at twice the rate for boys.

Dr Val Besag (Kidscape) claims alcohol and socialisation are to blame.  Girls have always been socialised into being kind and ladylike.  In the face of confrontation, girls would have to ‘go away and be friends’.  However, boys would be told to ‘fight back’.  There is obviously a cultural bias and a stereotype that men are more violent than women.  US psychologist Richard Felson states that motives for violence are identical for both genders – to gain retribution and to protect self-image

Evolutionary science has provided evidence that girls are just as violent as men but they take longer to become angry.  Women have a procrastinating nature.  However, abuse of alcohol and drugs shortens this time. Some terrible cases of bullying and murder have arisen from the use of these harmful substances.  All that has to be seen is a crowd of drunken girls on a Friday or Saturday night to get a vivid idea of these claims. 

It is clear that the concept of a “girl gang” is very prominent in our society.  Whether young females decide to cover up their actions by a vow of friendship or blaming their parents, these young girls are simply making the choice to create conflict as a group activity.

A Piece of Cake – Cupcake Brown

In review|BOOK on November 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

A Piece of Cake - Cupcake BrownReading Cupcake Brown’s, “A Piece of Cake” away on holiday made me think about the bad things that happen to us in life and how we get past them.

The young girl who goes by the name of “Cupcake”, suffers from a life filled with grief, abuse and constantly running away. Everytime she is returned to the place she refuses to call home, she escapes. The girl has no clue where to go or how she will get there, and turns to dangerous solutions. But when you are reading the book, it’s almost as if when the chapters go on, the readers sense of dangerous and “frowned upon” behaviour disappears. As every chapter goes on, the girl who rapidly turns into a woman is forced into a life of making money through, “turning tricks”, drug dealing and “hoo-banging”. What the reader would usually see as abnormal is turned to normal through the process of reading the book.

So, what is normal? Each one of us has our different stories and our different trials and tribulations. But, how best do we solve this? Do we run away from our troubles, do we face them head on, or do we do nothing at all? Nothing comes easy but its important to know that the hardest things in life are quite often (if not always) the most worth it.

By Natasha Devan