The short answer is no. As much as BBC Three think that we should be and aired their documentary two nights ago to highlight the so-called issue, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. There is no significant rise in female violence, well that’s what I took from the documentary even though it clearly set out to prove the opposite.
Women account for 15% of arrests in England and Wales but only 5% of the prison population. Right, so really there’s not much need for this documentary anyway because it’s clear that men are the ones with the problems when it comes to violence. But regardless we’d better give the BBC a chance to put their point across.
The opening scenes gave me doubts straight away as to how useful the programme would be. We were shown some amateur videos of some stupid teenage girls engaged in a full on hair-pulling, fist-throwing fight and then the presenter compared this to Solange and Jay Z’s infamous elevator fight. Really? BBC Three I’m really disappointed that you think you can even remotely compare a small celebrity brawl started by Beyonce’s sister in a posh hotel, to a vile and tacky street fight between youngsters in London. The latter is much more worrying and much more raw. Solange’s outburst of anger cannot be given as evidence for the UK’s ‘rise’ in female violence.
Needless to say the opening scenes of the documentary made me sceptical from the get-go, but I thought I’d better give this programme a chance; plus BBC Three usually produce some fantastic content. Presenter Alys Harte explained that the street fights between young girls are sometimes started by social media and 200 people once turned up to watch a fight that was organised online. This made me think that surely this is evidence that girls are not getting angrier, as the BBC claimed, but that they are just bored. That’s it. They are probably angry at being bored so they take to social media and spend a ridiculous amount of time in the lives organising fights to entertain themselves. This is just one aspect of female violence, there are many others.
It was great to see that, as usual, the BBC tried to investigate the issue. So Alys Harte did an experiment on herself to test the effect of alcohol on her body. Results showed that after two shots of whiskey her body had a much higher level of testosterone, a hormone that she said scientists link to violence. I’m not sure I believe that to be honest because most men (who are pretty much made of testosterone) aren’t violent, so how do you explain that? Anyway, I think her experiment was a waste of time because although there is clearly some sort of link between alcohol, violence and anger (as we see time and time again in stories about the clubbing culture in Britain) every person reacts differently when alcohol is in their body. Contrary to what the documentary seemed to portray, not all women get violent when they drink. In fact I know some friends who actually become more relaxed and funny when they’ve had a few jagerbombs, so we can’t blame alcohol for the amount of ‘angry’ women in the country.
As the presenter said: “Behind nearly every violent woman there is a story of low self respect and often self harm.” Exactly! This is where the problem lies, not with alcohol or celebrities or women just getting angrier. The problem is, is that girls aren’t getting the help and support they need when they go through trauma at a young age. One of the ladies featured in the documentary had been, in her words, sexually exploited by a gang of boys when she was 12. Well it’s no wonder she took out her anger on the girls that called her names and thought she had brought it on herself. There were at least two other women featured in the programme who had really tough and depressing upbringings. It’s clear that young girls need more help to deal with what they’ve been through and schools need to offer some kind of counselling to prevent them from taking out their anger and distress in the form of violence.
So no, I don’t think we have anything to worry about when it comes to the “slow upward trend” of female violence because it’s not a case of random women trawling the streets looking to stab people, it’s a case of young girls in certain social situations being violent to their friends or family members. Of course this isn’t okay at all, but this is a much more controlled form of violence that is much easier to deal with and doesn’t stem from evil but from being traumatised. They are good people really, who have just had to deal with terrible situations. We shouldn’t be worried that there is a rise in female violence but we should encourage the government to implement ways to help the small percentage of women who do have these serious issues.
You can watch the programme for the next 28 days on iPlayer by clicking here.