Why Do Girls Join Gangs?

cholas

A “chola” is a female gangster and is often times as ruthless as her male counterparts, “cholos”

According to research on female gang members, poor home life, a search for an identity, and a search for social interaction and belonging are the main reasons girls join gangs. In poor urban areas, “the home lives of gang girls are marked frequently by breakdown and dysfunction, at worst resulting in physical and sexual abuse”. Many girls who do not have a loving home or support structure seek it outside of the home in hopes that the gang will be their surrogate family. This is exemplified in the observation that, “gang members refer to one another as ‘sisters’ or ‘homegirls” and to the gang as a ‘family’… which conjure the sense of belonging and identification”.

loyaltyThis sense of a familial relationship may also serve to increase loyalty among its members. As gang researcher and author Anne Campbell found in her research, “intense in-group loyalty is particularly important to gang members” and this sense of family may be one of the main reasons for such faithful loyalty.

This video exposes the horrific initiation of girls into the ruthless MS-13 Gang

cholas2In addition to seeking a family, these girls search for a sense of identity and have a need for group support and cohesiveness, which they seek to find in gangs. According to Campbell’s research, “the girls often speak of themsleves as loners’ before joining the gang, barely connected to their schoolmates or to neighborhood peer groups”. In addition, “gangs fill socialization voids and offer attachments, commitments, involvements, and beliefs for young people in need of affiliation and achievement. All of these ‘socialization voids’ are found in their homes and gangs fill these voids and meet the needs that the parents do not or cannot.

cholas1

Girls also join gangs for comradeship. According to Campbell, the most prominent reason girls join is for friendship and fun. “More than anything else gang membership is seen as fun. Stories are told and retold of… crazy behavior and wild parties”. Gangs are often social organizations that provide friendship and social networks just as, for example, joining a sorority provides similar friendship and social aspects.

Four distinct sections bring into focus the topic of youth gangs and ways to prevent ... Winning the War Against Youth Gangs: A Guide for Teens, Families, and communities.

 

 Winning the War Against Youth Gangs

 

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