A look at the existing statistics indicates that youth violence has been on the rise and the youth are increasing engaging in crime. The most affected are the low income neighborhoods and immense studies have focused on this phenomenon. The recent years have witnessed the United States and indeed a number of Western Europe countries being gripped by a spate of senseless shootings in high schools and colleges. This kind of violence had seen a number of people succumb to youth’s murderous rage. Closely related to this is the youth involvement in gangs that commit all manner of crimes. Though the issue of violence has received widespread attention from scholars, the bigger proportion is biased towards male youth on the assumption that female violence is at insignificant level. It has however been established that female violence is on the rise. This paper indicates that though this violence is on the rise, it is yet to take the shape that characterizes the male youth violence, female youth violence is at a subtle stage and is yet to degenerate into serious violent crime.
Sociological foundations of female youth violence
A flip through the media indicates that there is a rise in youth female violence. Young girls as young as 14 are forming girl gang groups aimed for protecting the members or meting out violence against their colleagues. This kind of violence is on the rise and though not comparable to that of boys, they are also resorting to tactics similar to those used by their male colleagues. There exist a number of criminological theories that posit to explain why certain demographic groups are more prone to crime. The Social Disorganization Theory for example posits that crime is a product of the failure of some of the core institutions in the community such as family amongst others. Such a theory can be used to explain the rise in youth female violence indicating that the raging incidences of violence are due to the failure in parental guidance and peer groups taking over the role of the parents. It is these inadequacies that have seen girls venturing into paths priory considered a preserve of men. (Rachel, 2005)
How female youth violence differs from that of males
The motivations behind male youth violence are varied. Male violence is effective and takes place in the context of other major crimes. The most common of these crimes is drug trafficking. The existing research indicates that the 1980s saw an increase in youth violence, a situation that has continued to worsen to date. This violence arose with increased abuse of hard drugs such as cocaine and the formation of street gangs. This point to the fact that youth violence, drug use and trafficking have grown concurrently and is a trend characterizing youth male violence. Female violence however is at a more subtle level and is a phenomenon that began to take shape in the late 1990s. While male violence incorporates the use of weapons such as guns and knives, teenage girls “have high levels of verbal and social aggression. They practice exclusion, getting back at people.”(Johanna, 1998)
Causes and the nature of female youth violence
The prevailing social conditions are seen as driving individuals to violence and also to crime. Youth female violence however has been trivialized. The major causes of this violence are personality oriented and deal with teenage jealousy. Others also revolve around acceptance into certain peer groups. As Cindy (n.d.) observes, female youth violence is characterized by trivial exchanges that finally result into cat fights over petty issues. Some other forms are as a result of fight over boys. Artz asserts that female youth violence revolves around girl power. The concept of girl power is defined by the amount of attention that a girl is able to attract. If a girl “believes that she is in competition with another girl for a guy’s affection, she will resort to violence.” (Cited in Erin 1998) This according to Dr. Artz has been orchestrated by the popular media and the perception that girl power lies in sex and that women have to fight for men’s approval.
Argument that female youth violence is a pointer of the potential to involve in serious crime
There are those however that believe that female violence is caused by other huge factors that lead to crime amongst the male population. They see the violence carried out by female youth as a form of initiation into other forms of violent crimes. This conclusion is reached after analyzing the crime trends in the post world war period to date indicating that the gap that existed for arrests between men and women is closing in (Sherrie, 2006). This is used as an indicator that the motivations could be similar. However, the existing statistics on police arrests show that although there is an increase in violence, it is still at a meager level and has not degenerated into other serious forms of crime.
Indeed the issue of youth violence has been widely tackled. However, the current phenomena of female youth violence remains widely neglected. There exist major differences between the motivation and form of female youth violence in comparison to the conventional youth violence. While male violence is motivated by other crimes such as drug trafficking, car jacking and other violent crimes and also employs the use of knives and guns, female youth crime is caused by personal differences and boyfriends rivalry. Female violence is meted out against imagined women rivals with an intention of settling scores rather than committing serious crimes.