Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Women are triggers in gang violence, study shows

Published:Wednesday | May 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Approximately 62 per cent of women who have been victims of gang-related activities were killed because of ongoing warfare.

In addition, 32 per cent of females have been "triggers" for starting conflicts in crime-ridden communities across the country, according to research findings by social anthropologist Dr Herbert Gayle.

The two-year study, which tracked the 'Reasons Why Young Women Die' in Jamaica, is part of research into violence and schools in Jamaica.

"It may be surprising to some that women are playing serious roles in the planning of violence. We found that eight per cent are involved in this fashion. They are behind the scenes and have been effective," he said.

 

Anti-gang workshop

 

Gayle presented the findings at the launch of a recent anti-gang workshop organised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and which looked at partnerships for improved safety and security in schools.

He stated that people go after women, children and the elderly in a method used to enforce the fear factor and to instigate conflicts in the Jamaican context which, he noted, had its parallel in Belize.

"The truth of the matter, though, is that you just do not kill the replicator. In this case, women are the replicators, as they are the ones giving birth. Even some contract killers use some objectivity and are not open to murdering females; yet, we see this taking place," Gayle said.

Additionally, Gayle found that 11 per cent of women were killed when there was a wipe-out of a family by a gang.

Information from the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch, which has partnered with the education ministry's Safety in Schools initiative, suggests that there are 350 known gangs across Jamaica and 250 of them are considered to be active.

These gangs were said to be heavily involved in recruiting school-age children, Superintendent Anthony McLaughlin said.

"We are not saying that these gangs are in the schools, but a significant number of students are impacted. These gangs are openly recruiting from the schools," he said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com