(MOBILE, Ala.) May 1 -- By now, most of you have seen the infamous video of a gang of girls who are beating up a fellow classmate in Polk County, Florida. A quick search online shows this video, sadly, is not unique. In fact, studies now show there has been a dramatic increase of females turning violent. NBC 15's Andrea Ramey reports on this disturbing trend.
An all out assault for teenage girls once involved spreading a vicious rumor or giving the silent treatment, the kind of behavior popularly portrayed in the movie Mean Girls. While girls still lash out in those ways, they're adding fist fights to their arsenal.
So is it just a fad or are woman actually becoming more violent? Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice point to the latter. Aggravated assault arrests for girls are up 82% from 1987 to 2001, while in that same time frame, arrests for boys only rose 9%.
The question is... why? Dr. Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling studies juvenile violence and teaches at the University of South Alabama. "Historically, we've looked at woman's violence and said 'oh, it's just girls. That's no big deal. They're not really going to hurt each other.' And yet, that's exactly what's happening," said Langhinrichsen-Rohling.
Last month, police say broom sticks and broken glass were involved in a girl fight at Murphy High School. Dynesha and Dykeisha Harris were criminally charged as adults. They both face assault charges.
Police had to be called recently to stop a female fight at Newk's restaurant on Airport Boulevard and Azalea Road in Mobile. "They were hitting each other on the head. They were throwing fists. I've never seen anything like that before, not with women," said Shannon Martin, who witnessed the altercation.
"Girl fights seem to have no type of physical contact that's prohibited. So scratching is ok, any dirty fighting technique is ok. Where with boys, if you're going to fight, you're going to fight like a man. There's rules to it, rules of engagement," said Langhinrichsen-Rohling.
Often times the female fights escalate beyond hair pulling and nail scratching. Last month, Mobile police say 21-year-old Vera Lane stabbed another woman to death in the street. Neighbors said the fight was over a man. "One of his baby momma's got into it with his other baby's momma," said a woman who did not want to be identified.
The week before, Mobile Police say 20-year-old Vinquia Jones shot another woman at the Rainbow Lounge.
"We have to teach all of our children that violence is not the answer to solving relationship problems," said Langhinrichsen-Rohling.
Dr. Langhinrichsen-Rohling says just as boys aren't suppose to cry, woman aren't suppose to feel rage, but yet they do. She says many woman aren't taught constructive ways to handle that emotion and that could be why we're seeing an increase in female violence.
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