r Letter From Eastie: Girl Fight.
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Collaged view of Boston, from East Boston

Letter From Eastie

News and other items from East Boston, Massachusetts.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Girl Fight.

This article from the Boston Globe starts off as an article about teenage girls fighting on the T (Forest Hills and Ruggles):
Last week, a 14-year-old Dorchester girl was beaten, robbed, and left sprawled across the train tracks at the MBTA station in Milton. Four 15-year-old girls were arrested.

Then, on Tuesday, two teenage sisters were arrested at Forest Hills after an assault on a 17-year-old girl. All three teenagers are students at West Roxbury High School, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said. The victim was punched in the face repeatedly and struck with an umbrella, Pesaturo said. She was taken to Children's Hospital with cuts on her head, face, and hands.

On Wednesday, a group of girls brawled at Ruggles Station. Yesterday, officials said, several teenage girls were detained at Forest Hills Station after an MBTA officer found a knife. A 14-year-old girl told an officer she was preparing to use the knife in a fight with a 16-year-old, a T official said.

Today, the transit police and other police agencies plan to saturate Forest Hills Station after school lets out. ''You have kids from as far as East Boston coming through Forest Hills," said MBTA police Detective Shirley Ostine, who is one of the officers involved in the effort. ''You're bound to find somebody who has a beef with somebody else."

Ostine said the problem is made worse because so many teenagers descend at once on the transit system, which T officials said was not designed to transport all of the schoolchildren it takes to and from school. New programs are needed to contend with the crowds of often feuding teens, they said.
Then the articles winds up by talking about anti-violence initiatives in general in East Boston:
Meanwhile, Menino's B-SMART initiative, which aims to tackle violence by addressing quality-of-life issues, is now about four months old. Yesterday in East Boston, officials from the mayor's office, the Police Department, inspectional services, and other agencies exchanged ideas and criticisms about neighborhood problems.

Inspectional services officers talked with police about which corners have the most gang graffiti. Police described a new patrol initiative they call ''Operation Criss Cross," which they said floods the high-crime Eagle Hill area with six daily patrols by uniformed and plainclothes officers.

One East Boston resident at the meeting told police he called in news of a fight and a station dispatcher hung up on him without getting a description of the alleged gang members involved. East Boston police district Captain Robert Cunningham asked what time the call was made and pledged to discipline the officer who answered.

Larry Mayes, the city's chief of human services, said the meetings are designed for just this type of give and take.

''I hope it will give a greater level of service to the residents of Boston," Mayes said.

I don't really know how widespread this problem is, or if there just happened to be a bunch of incidents that all took place within the space of a week so everyone is getting hyped up about it. I know there has been a definite trend of increasing violence/crime perpetrated by girls and women for years. It seems to me that if the problem is about having too many kids all on the T at the same time, (I'm assuming at the before/after school commuting times) then isn't it a little bit late in the school year to try and combat this? It's almost summer and then there will be a whole new dynamic--not necessarily better, but different. The article is unclear as to whether these attacks are related, like part of some gang activity, or if it's just random. (The implication is that the incidents are unrelated.) When I was growing up girls would fight all the time. I spent my Freshmen year (1988-89) at Christopher Columbus in the North End and some of those girls would kick anyone's ass. I once saw a girl punch another girl's tooth out in the girls' bathroom. The knife in one of the stories is the really disturbing part. I find with this type of story that there is a little bit of "Oh my God, girls are fighting!" Like that is the most shocking or worst thing that could ever happen. Violence is violence. It doesn't matter who perpetuates it. I wish the Globe would do a little bit more work and perhaps provide us with an understanding of why violence among girls is rising. Girls Inc. has some great fact sheets available online in pdf format about girls and violence:

Girls and Violence

Girls and Juvenile Justice

Girls and Violence and Juvenile Justice Resources (a bibliography)


  • At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Let the young girls fight if they want to do it. More and more girls do fight now in school and in the streets. And why not?

    My mom said to me and my sister that we have to learn who to fight to defend us. If we fight, we will fight to win. My sister beat up a girl the other day, and our mom love it when we tell her that we have been in a fight and kick some ass.

    I have not seen my mom fight, but she say she will fight if she have to, and she is sure the she will beat up most of the moms in our class. I belive her and think she can.

    Mom tell us that girls fight also when she was a young girl.


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