Girls are not "as bad"

From: Linda Purrington (
Date: Tue May 25 1999 - 14:46:47 EDT

Girls have the capability to "be bad," but statistically, they just
don't engage in the intensity and violence that boys engage in. On the
more violent levels to which sexual harassment reaches, namely rape and
murder, they are barely represented. Stats that suggest they are equal
are (intentionally?) not differentiating the various acts, but lumping
in sexual assault with namecalling.

In the worst schemes of presenting data, the sexual assault stats are
taken out altogether, and stashed elsewhere in the criminal acts
database--what is left is then divvied up by gender. In schools,
criminal records are often hidden, and in the criminal justice world
various plea bargain are made to erase or obscure the most egregious

For example, three 17-year-olds here were charged with raping--for
four hours, and with a foreign object, and with the victims too
intoxicated to protest--two 14-year-olds. They plea-bargained down to
one count of penetration with a foreign object; rape was dropped. The
records and sentence and courtroom were all closed. But the girls were
mercilessly harassed in school. In defending themselves, they could no
longer refer to what had become a closed issue under the protection of
the criminal court/old boys' network.

Finally, when girls engage in sexual harassment, what they are doing is
jumping on the patriarchy bandwagon, to get some reflected power for
themselves. Sexual harassment follows that gradient of power; what goes
on in schools reflects the larger society. Their harassment of other
girls and of boys is in terms of social male dominance; and that is why
school officials would like to shut you up, because you challenge the
underlying order. Good for you!

Linda Purrington

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