Gangs in the Western Cape use women and girls as young as 12 to do their jobs for them, according to a study by the University of Stellenbosch.
“Women play different roles in gangs. This includes carrying information, hiding and handling contraband, “capturing” rival male gang members, selling drugs and participating in robberies, “said Imanuella Muller, who did research during her master’s degree in psychology.
” This clearly shows that women are actually part of the core activities of gangs and do not just exist on the fringes of gangs. ”
Müller examined how girls and women in the Western Cape are recruited and initiated into gangs and what roles they will take on later.
She also tried to figure out what could be done to prevent them from joining a gang and how women who want to leave a gang or who have already decided to This can be supported.
Muller interviewed women who were active in gang culture and who took part in an intervention project that enabled them to start a new life. < / p>
She said her results show that some girls are deceived or seduced into meddling in gangs by meeting or meeting with gang members.
< p> “Gangs sometimes target women who are drug addicts or come from a family background with financial wealth and standing in communities in order to use their financial resources and status to benefit the gang,” she said.
“A frequent route in gangs leads through a romantis relationship with a male gang member. Young women may be attracted and attracted to gangs because of the easy access and availability of drugs. ”
Mueller said gangs use fear and intimidation to recruit women and young girls and keep them trapped in gangs.
“One of the participants mentioned that women are exposed to many details when dealing with gang members and in gangs Regarding the activities of gangs, “she said.
” This knowledge of gang activities as an outsider puts the gangs at risk, [so] they then have to become part of the gang in order to to prove that they can be trusted. Resisting this pressure puts them and their families at risk. ”
Müller said it was important for women to demonstrate their loyalty and commitment to the gang, and they often did by “luring or seducing a male member of a rival gang who may be on their gang’s” hit list “to make it easier for their gang to kill him.
It is difficult for a woman to leave a gang, said Müller, especially if she has children who were conceived by a gang member or who are financially dependent on a gang member.
“They can leave if they have the necessary support systems – a safe place to stay, financial means to support themselves and their children – although sometimes it can mean taking care of their home and family left to start a new life in another city or city.
“This Women need supervised and safe leisure clubs or groups where they can participate in exciting but healthy and constructive activities and experience a sense of belonging and community, mental health services, counseling and therapy, mentoring and career guidance programs, educational opportunities, and funding opportunities for those graduating from high school, studying and qualifying and looking to find a job.
“Drug addiction is a common challenge among women in gangs that requires special treatment and treatment.
“If there are no viable economic opportunities, the chances of getting back into gear are very high.”