As I sat in the locker room at school, these guys came up to me and began to bother me. One of them punched me in the chest. At that point one of the guys I knew from the gang in my neighborhood came over and took up for me. I thought to myself, ‘If I join the gang, maybe I can have protection like this.’”
Does this sound familiar?
The Gang problem is a growing presence in many schools and neighborhoods.
Many youth join gangs to gain protection from violence, and in these violent times, it is not difficult to understand why some youths may feel such a need.
We are witnessing a worldwide “increasing in violence". However, there are yet other reasons why street gangs hold such a powerful attraction for some youths.
Why do people join gangs?
1. Support and Friendship-
“I really wanted to have friends, a sense of belonging to somebody or to a group, somebody you could care for,” explains, a former gang member.
Marianne, who joined a girls gang, admits that she did so “out of [her] need to control something,” as well as for the “family atmosphere” it offered.
While it is true that some youths join gangs to help deal with boredom or for the excitement they might offer.
It appears that far more join to have a sense of belonging, to receive emotional support, to get friends with whom they share things in common.
Often this is done to replace an undesirable family situation.
2. Problems at home-
Another gang member says of himself and fellow gang members:
Most of us came from broken homes. Many were being raised by a single parent, usually a mother, in large families. So there was no one to take time to talk to them. Many came from homes where they were physically and verbally abused and where no one cared whether they had feelings or not. So they felt good, as I did, about being able to talk to someone and be heard.”
This point is also made by Canadian youth counselor. He stated:
Kids having problems at home latch on to a gang for emotional nurturing.”
3. Ethnic or Cultural ideals-
In the some places, many gangs are formed along ethnic or cultural lines.
Gangs in that land, therefore, offer the additional appeal of association with those who share feelings regarding food, music, language, and a host of other things.
For youths and adults alike, the desire to feel needed and accepted is normal. But can these feelings and needs truly be satisfied by joining a gang?
Why you should avoid gangs?
But, do gang members really find true loyalty and friendship?
On the contrary, disagreements and even fights among fellow gang members are all too common.
A former gang member relates:
If we had an argument, I had to be on the alert because all of a sudden, a knife or a gun could come out. And these were supposed to be my friends! Gang life left me disappointed because I had no real friends.”
Any youth contemplating joining a gang might think of a gang as a means of self-protection or a source of friendship.
In reality, though, a gang member is inevitably forced to pursue evil ends. The gang becomes his family.
That means that the gang determines what is acceptable behavior and what needs to be done. Robberies, beatings, and sexual assaults could soon be on the top list of the things needed to be done.
Gangs in all countries are usually involved in criminal acts and some even homicides. And virtually everywhere that gangs exist, there is violence.
Any attempt to resist involvement is sure to be viewed as lack of support for the gang or, worse yet, as cowardice.
In either event, you could easily find yourself the object of attack. As one gang member said: “You cannot say no to your [gang].”
Is this the sense of belonging or protection you are searching for?
So, thinking about this negative consequences that could destroy your life and well-being, will help you fight any peer pressure to join a gang.