A disturbing video of a violent physical attack on a teen girl hit the wires this week. Her assaulters were six teenage girls—cheerleaders at the local high school—and their actions were calculated and animalistic. In case you missed what happened in Lakeland, Florida here’s the recap:
On March 30 six teenage girls lured a 16-year-old former friend to a home with a phone call. She was met at the door by one girl while five others hid in another room. As she walked into the trap two teens began viciously attacking her, slamming her head against the wall, punching her in the face, and basically beating her body to a pulp. When the ambushed girl regained consciousness six of the girls took turns pounding her body, all the while laughing, cheering one another on and videoing the thirty-minute attack. One voice is heard yelling: “There is only 17 seconds left, make it good.” Two boys waited outside as lookouts.
All eight teens have been arrested for assault. Their motive was apparently pure revenge. The victim apparently posted something against one of the girls on MySpace. According to her attackers the girl deserved the treatment and showed no remorse for their deeds. While the public response has been shock (and rightly so), it’s also time for a reality check. This disturbing incident is not an isolated affair. Physical aggression amongst girls is a quickly growing trend that knows no boundaries. Rural or urban, rich or poor, black or white or yellow or green, the fact is “Sugar and spice and no longer nice” is no more.
Troubling statistics reveal that our new American girl is becoming as prone to violent behavior as boys. Want proof? Read on:
• Twenty years ago roughly ten boys were arrested for assault for every one girl. That ratio is now four to one.
• Girls in gangs are just as likely to participate in beatings as boys.
• U.S. Department of Justice shows that in 1990 one in 50 juvenile arrests for all crimes is a girl. In 2003 one in three juvenile arrests for violent crimes is a girl.
• More than one in every four teens aged 13 to 15 who are arrested for aggravated assault is a girl.
But even more disturbing: The greatest increase in overall percentages of violent crime arrests is among younger girls.
Aggressive behavior is unconscionable. There is no excuse. But also remember that the first step to change is awareness. Please beware of this trend. Violence is learned. Our kids deserve better lessons, folks.