A video has appeared on social media of an attack on a 14-year-old girl by 4 teen girls aged 13 to 17. The gang of “friends” recorded the group kicking, punching, and yanking the victim across the concrete floor. Why would teen girls attack other teens?
The above attack in July 2015 is not an isolated incident where teen girls attack a single teen, luring the victim in on false pretenses then assaulting the victim:
Shanda Sharer was 13 when three females, aged 15 – 17, in January 1992, tortured her. She died when the teens burned her body on a roadside.
April 2001: Five teens aged 15 to 18, assisted by a twenty-year-old, lured Seath Jackson, 15, to his death. Seath was beaten and shot. Seath’s ex-girlfriend was part of the pack that smashed his knees and shot him, finally killing him, burning the body in a backyard fire pit.
2013: Five teenagers (two females, three males) kidnapped, beat and raped a 16-year-old girl. They smashed her face and threw her down a stairwell; then held the victim down as she was raped. One of the teens recorded it all on her cell phone.
Why would teen girls commit such brutal acts? There is no single cause of this phenomenon; there are some correlations:
Lack of parental supervision: Hollywood Police Department’s Lt. Perez publically states, “Parents, please get involved. No matter how minor it is, talk to their kids. See where they’re at, what they’re doing” (source). Creating a bond with a child is crucial so the child feels safe in discussing issues with a parent.
History of Abuse: A child who acts out in rage has anger and hurt that builds and boils until it explodes; usually a history of abuse and neglect. There must be a target for which to release that anger. A history of mental illness is also a factor.
Accountability: no one wants to believe their child would commit heinous acts. When the child is guilty, making excuses tells them – and their peers – someone will save them from persecution. A defendants’ father (in the above 2013 attack) insisted his daughter acted in self-defense. “She did what she thought was right. She handled it the wrong way. If you’re to get into the middle of it, defend your friend any way that you can. But don’t beat someone to the point where they wind up in the hospital.” (Source)
The dynamics of youth: teens rarely think past the moment to consider consequences. The parent asks, “What were you thinking?” The standard reply “I don’t know” because, once asked, the reason now seems shallow or stupid. Teens are caught between being a child and being an adult; raging hormones, peer pressure, bullying, and a lack of maturity complicate the thought process to include reasoning and common sense.
The pack mentality (AKA Herd Behavior): given the above examples, the culprits would not attack as individuals. In Theory of Motivation (1943), Maslow identified the levels of our motivation or needs: survival, safety, social esteem, and fulfillment. R.E. Wilson, Jr. explains, “Status is an esteem need … we all strive to achieve.” For teen girls, fitting in and social status are imperative.
Lack of legal punishment: school officials walk a fine line, i.e. an event off-campus is not school responsibility. Teens are rarely charged as adults. “Attempts to prescribe parent behavior may violate the established privacy right in child rearing (as) established by the U.S. Supreme Court with two cases in the mid-1920’s” (source).
Video of the July 2015 attach can be viewed HERE and HERE