Essay on The Rise in Female Gang Members

579 Words 3 Pages
Many people recognize that gangs have been around for what seems like forever. What they don't realize is that the numbers are increasing to amazing proportions, there were 28,000 youth gangs with 780,200 members in the United States (in 2000) and 20% to 46% of those members are female (Evans). And what is even more shocking is, in Chicago alone there are 16,000 to 20,000 female gang members (Eghigian). These girls start out as ?groupies?, become members, and sometimes even leaders of all-girl gangs because of troubles in the home, a need for money, for the social scene, or just because it is all they know.
Allison Abner, who wrote Gangsta girls, sat down and spoke with three girls who have all been in gangs while, two still are.
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Abner tells of Jonelle (nicknamed BabyJ), who is the oldest of three, who had a gang member and incarcerated father and a mother addicted to crack. She needed to be the support system to her family and turned to her father?s same gang to help her sell drugs and to make her feel like she had a family who cared (Abner). This story is not only the story of Jonelle, there are many other girls like her who have no choice but to become gang members.
Many of these girls, as Abner tells, come from homes where they parents were original gangsters (founding members), or O.G.?s. They grow up with a ?strong gang presence?, and that gang turns into their own family (Eghigian). Usually, the gang presence is found within the relationships between their parents, friends, and boyfriends. These gangs make the girls feel at home because of the ties the membership comes with. Once a member, they will most likely always be a member because of ties ?that supersede blood ties? (Abner). But not all girls are looking for a super-strong bond with a community, some are just looking for a party, the social scene that gang life comes with. They look for people to spend time with, to skip school, gossip, listen to music, get high, and flirt with the male gang members (Abner). Those that often join for the male gang member were usually sexually abused, and now engage in sexual behavior with them. They earn reputations as ?toss-ups? by
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