Gender and victimization risk among young women in gangs

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Research has documented the enhancement effects of gang involvement for criminal offending, but little attention has been given to victimization. This article examines how gang involvement shapes young women's risks of victimization. Based on interviews with active gang members, the author suggests that (1) gang participation exposes youths to victimization risk and (2) it does so in gendered ways. Young women can use gender to decrease their risk of being harmed by rival gangs or other street participants by not participating in 'masculine' activities such as fighting and committing crime. However, the consequence is that they are viewed as lesser members of their gangs and may be exposed to greater risk of victimization within their gangs. The author suggests that more research is needed to examined whether and how gang involvement enhances youths' exposure to victimization risk, and that researchers should maintain a recognition of the role of gender in shaping these processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-453
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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