Here in Ottawa, three teenaged girls have been convicted of pimping out several other teenaged girls. The judge stated that they ran a fairly sophisticated human trafficking ring. This has been in the local news for some time and has become louder because of the convictions. The entire situation is shocking and terrible. Young girls preying on other young girls.
I remember being so sad when I first heard about the charges being lain. I was also shocked and angry that this was happening, not only in the world at large, but in my home city. Sad it made me. Sad I have been. It’s not constant, but I remember my sadness every time I hear about the case.
If this were a case of men preying on young girls and forcing them in to prostitution, it wouldn’t feel the same. This feels like a strange double-standard and it adds to an overall sadness, because I can more easily accept that men would do this, that men are more capable of violence.
You see, I feel horrible for the victims but I almost feel more horribly for the perpetrators. These perpetrators were, at one point in their very young lives, victims as well. If their victims had any good fortune, it was that the situation came to light and was stopped. Now they have a chance to heal and to try and grow up normally.
An important thing that I have learned: people’s behaviour is informed by what came before. Basically, you generally live what you learn. The same way that I see my parents in how I am parenting or how being bullied in high school has made me be aware of how I affect others. Teenaged girls, who forced other teens to fuck strange men, by threats and bullying taken to it’s extreme, learned this somewhere. I cannot image a way for any of them to have hit upon this idea on their own. If it was so easy for them to see these younger girls as objects, in effect not seeing them at all, then how were they seen during their short childhoods?
They are guilty of genuinely horrifying crimes. They have taken childhood from other girls and replaced it with terror and pain and trauma. They need to be punished for what they have done, if only so their victims know that something has been done to keep them and others safe. They must live the rest of their lives with the consequences of what they have done, just as their victims must.
They are guilty of what they did and of being who they are. They are victims of whatever came before, that made them who they are.