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There are many gangs across the globe, all bonded by a common goal. They are largely bonded by illegal activities they carry out as a group. They are many forms of gangs such as prison gangs, motorcycle gangs, violent street gangs, among others. Most of the gangs are sophisticated and well organized. They employ violence to exert control over their neighborhood and lift their illegal money-making activities, which include prostitution rings, extortion, fraud, gun trafficking, drug trafficking, and robbery. The authorities are faced by a hard situation trying to dismantle and disrupt gangs. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the chapter I found most informative and most interesting concerning gang issues. To achieve this, I will explain why I have found this chapter informative and interesting as well as explain whether my opinion of the subject matter has changed as a result of this reading and how did it change.
The reading I found most interesting and informative is chapter 35 titled ‘Gender &Victimization Risk among Young Women in Gangs.’ Most of the girls who participated in this study suggested that they get protection from the gangs groups they belong. However, these groups were male dominated and male members provided protection to the girls that belong to their gang. One thing I learnt from this reading is that gangs have initiation rites and internal rules that every member should adhere to. The initiation rites and internal rules submitted members to violence. For instance, if one goes against the rules, he or she must submit to a certain beating by gang members as a form of instilling discipline so that the members cannot stray again. I found this rather insulting because I do not the reason why I should belong to a group that exposes me to violence; a group that punishes me severely when I stray rather than directing me on what I should have done.
According to the reading, being a gang member involves opening oneself as a young woman to possible victimization. Although the group offers some protection to the young ladies, there are some things the ladies are not entitled to do such as dating a rival gang member or disrespecting the leader of the group. Doing one of these things may result to physical punishment. To me this is a form of victimization, but the young ladies seem not to view it as that because the vulnerability of being on streets without a gang is dangerous as compared to victimization risk in gangs. This reading is extremely informative as it has elaborated why young girls prefer to be members of different gang groups rather than being on their own on the streets.
This reading also made it clear that most gang groups are male dominated. Males are also given the role of leading the group, and in some cases only the males could be leaders. Males are usually given the role of leading the group since they are masculine. That is, they are able to fight, they are tough, and willing to commit any crime. This explains why there are few or none of the gangs is led by females. Status of the male members in the gang is based on the willingness commit dangerous crime or use serious violence. This exposes some of the non-committal male members to victimization. On the hand, less is expected on female members to commit crimes or use weapons; hence, their status in the gang depends on different issues. There are those who are able to commit serious crimes while others gain status by their connections to high-status male in gang as their family, girlfriends or sisters. This route generates gender inequality in the gangs but reduces the risk of victimization for women.
This reading is very interesting as it helps the reader understand the structure of the gangs. One thing I found interesting about the reading is that girls are finding it rough to prove that they are serious about their gang commitment. Male gang members view girls as less significant to the group and devaluation of girls exposes them to mistreatment and victimization. They are even victimized by members of their gang since they consider them to be useless. The interesting part is that most of the girls are able to recognize how they are devalued, yet they continue clinging to their gangs all in the name of protection.
My opinion concerning young women in gangs has completely changed. I used to think that every gang member is an equal member, and no one is supposed to be of higher status expect the leaders. The reading has proven my thoughts wrong as female members are devalued in their gangs and this exposes them to mistreatment and victimization. I also used to think that young girls join gangs so that they can commit crimes like their male counterpart, but according to the reading, most girls join gangs so that they can receive protection. Most of the girls do not mind the victimization they receive from their gangs provided they are protected in the neighborhood.
In conclusion, this reading is very informative and interesting as it has cleared the air concerning the issue of young women and their involvement in gangs. My opinion concerning young women in gangs has completely changed and now I understand how young women in the gangs are victimized. However, most of the young women do not mind the victimization provided they can receive protection.
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