Why Girls Join Gangs Essay

1535 Words 6 Pages
Criminologists have studied a vast variety of topics, including gangs and gang membership. There could be any number of reasons why girls will join a gang, I will be attempting to narrow down some core reasons for the purpose of joining a gang. Not only will this paper will be focusing on why girls accept the gang lifestyle but also what measures can be taken in order to prevent gang membership from occurring at all. The majority of the research today about gangs and their membership has focused on the male population (Molidor, pg. 251, 1996). However, in lieu of this, I plan on shedding a light in regards to certain factors that contribute to why girls enter gangs. Hamby, De La Rue, & Espelage’s (2014) research shows that victimization/abuse …show more content…
Not only can families that have gang members in them influence girls to join gangs, but the internal struggle of family conflict can also have great sway on girls. “Research specific to female gang members has shown that family risk factors, including poor parental supervision, and high levels of family conflict, have been linked to an increased risk of gang involvement” (Hamby et al., pg. 255, 2014). With regards to family conflict, having a dysfunctional family can also have a prominent role in leading girls to join gangs. The majority of girls who were asked questions about their families, particularly their parents, responded with domestic violence, divorce and getting remarried. Also, their biological parents were not ever married, while reporting also alcohol and drug abuse by their parents or step parents (Molidor, pg. 253, 1996). All of these reasons are definitely potential motives why someone might join a gang, however in Molidor’s qualitative study he reveals the girls personal explanations on why they wanted to join a gang. Molidor (pg. 254, 1996) described that “Two themes emerged as reasons for joining a gang: belonging to a family and the feeling of power.” These girls felt like they belonged to a family, they were accepted and could rely on others, a feeling of importance and respect from other members. (Molidor, pg. 254, 1996). Other girls felt that the …show more content…
It can affect them mentally, physically and potentially lead them on a pathway that is not for the best. I have outlined in the previous paragraphs how these statements can be carried out and why what I am about to talk next is so important. Prevention or being proactive towards girls and gang can prove to be so beneficial and “prevention of female gang membership is necessary for professionals working with female offenders and girls at-risk” (Snethen, pg. 42, 2010). Getting to the root of the problem is of course easier said than done but that is what needs to be accomplished. As stated previously in this paper, family can be incredibly harmful to a girl’s well-being and the path she chooses to follow. However, family can also play a key role in improving the livelihood of girls and preventing them from a harmful and dangerous lifestyle. Collective efficacy can be defined as “the ability of the collective to achieve a designated goal” (Snethen, pg.43, 2010). Snethen (2010) states that it is extremely important to nurture a family’s collective efficacy, especially during the shift from adolescence to adulthood (pg. 43). This collective efficacy can be crucial in preventing girls from becoming caught up in a gang lifestyle and “that increasing CE at the family level and identifying positive goals for the unit will provide both an increased level of family resilience

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