Recent headlines have read, “Girls getting increasingly violent,” “Violent crime by girls rising,” and “Girls not all sugar and spice.”
The anecdotal rise in aggression seems to be borne out by FBI arrest statistics for girls, which have in the past 14 years have outpaced corresponding statistical increases for boys. Girls now account for 29 percent of all juvenile arrests, up from 23 percent in 1990, reports the Christian Science Monitor.
Many who study girls and violence say the statistics may not tell the whole story. They agree that physical violence once associated only with boys is finding its way into more girl fights. And girls’ bullying and teasing – psychological violence – have intensified with the help of technology to a new level of nastiness. But the high-profile cases and dramatic arrest stats may still overstate a problem that is actually more complex and subtle, these experts say. “No question, arrests are going up,” says one. “The issue is whether it is girls’ behavior or policy changes that are driving that pattern.”