She Wants Out Part II. Female gang members are second-class citizens. The guys sometimes throw

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1 Carol Adams Huntington Junior College Literary Dictation Material Marked in 20 Word Groups She Wants Out Part II Female gang members are second-class citizens. The guys sometimes throw parties and don t invite the girls. If they show 1 up anyway, they aren t allowed inside. Even their initiations are different. Guys have to go through what s called jumping in. 2 For three minutes, all the gang members can kick, punch, and hit the new guy as much as they want. 3 The girls, though, are faced with a choice. They can either be jumped by the other girls or they can 4 pull a train : have sex with three or four gang guys in a row. They disrespect the girls who do 5 that, Ashley says. They will say, Yeah, she s played out. I ve already had her. Ashley was able to skip initiation 6 because of her brothers status in the Locals. Her friend Randi, 16, started hanging out with the Locals when she 7 was 11 but never joined officially, mostly because of the initiation. My dad told me people in gangs just tear 8 each other down, she says. But another friend, Mandy, 15, was badly beaten up when she joined. Mandy s mom, Peggy, 9 says Mandy used to come home with black eyes and covered in scratches and scrapes. I didn t call the police, 10 Peggy says, sighing, because Mandy would never tell us what happened.

2 I kind of didn t want to join because the 11 girls don t get treated so well, says Mandy. But I wanted to be cool. Even at home, Mandy seems tense. 12 Her eyes dart like she s waiting for someone to come after her. She s dressed casually in shorts and sneakers, her 13 makeup is flawless, and her hair is carefully combed back. The attic room she shares with her sister is stifling 14 in the August heat. There s no sign of an air conditioner, or even a fan. Her bed is bare, and 15 next to it she has a small knife. On the wall by her pillow she s drawn the Locals sign in 16 ballpoint pen. After Mandy was initiated three years ago, she started partying heavily with the Locals, drinking and doing drugs. 17 She was hardly ever home. It was a living nightmare, says Peggy. I never knew, when I woke up in 18 the morning, if she would be there. Mandy ran away many times; her mom kept calling the cops to find 19 her. Finally, when Mandy stole her grandmother s car this spring, a judge put her under house arrest for a month 20 and a half. She still has to meet regularly with her probation officer. Lots of times, people who want out 21 of the Locals and back in school get caught doing something illegal on purpose, says Ashley. Being on probation gives 22 you an excuse not to go to meetings or parties. The gang s meetings are held about twice a month, in 23 someone s living room. That s when people talk about problems with other members or gangs. Ashley used to have to skip 24 school to go.

3 I really liked school, and I knew it was important, she says. But I couldn t skip the 25 meetings. If you do, they put you in check. They beat you up. Although no one in the Locals has ever 26 touched her, Ashley guesses she s been in 20 fights. That s not a lot, she says, shrugging, not compared with 27 some people. Ashley has been shot at three times, and her brother once took a bullet in the side. That 28 was really scary, and it made me think, Maybe I shouldn t be doing this. But then he was okay, so 29 I told myself, No one got hurt, it s fine. Up until the moment in January 2002 when she 30 was arrested for the fifth time for stealing cars, Ashley was able to talk herself into doing whatever the Locals 31 asked. I drank, I smoked marijuana, I stole, she says. I had lots of times where I thought, I shouldn t. 32 But then I would convince myself it was okay. She stopped herself only twice, when she had her sister with 33 her in a stolen car. I was going to race, but my sister didn t know the cars were stolen, and I 34 knew if we got caught, she would get in trouble, too. She s not in the Locals and I don t 35 want her to be. While Ashley was in various juvenile detention centers, she thought a lot about her sisters and 36 her future. I know I m not going anywhere if I m with the gang, she says. She decided that when she 37 got out, she wouldn t go back to the Locals. She stopped answering the letters her gang friends wrote. Ashley knew 38 her brothers would think she was being stupid, but her mind was made up.

4 I got home in January of 39 this year, and I was so scared to run into any of my old friends, she says. I knew they 40 would be like, Remember how cool it was when we used to drink? Why don t you come drink with us? 41 For now, Ashley is still on probation, which means the police are keeping an eye on her. Now, if I 42 say I can t do something with the Locals, they back off, she says. When I get off probation, I won t 43 have an excuse. Some of the Locals are upset that Ashley s going to school regularly and sticking to her nine 44 o clock curfew. Randi, who is now pregnant by her Local boyfriend, Daniel, is one of the few who s also chosen 45 to leave. She s trying to convince Daniel to do the same. If he doesn t get out, I ll leave him, she 46 says. Travis makes fun of Ashley for ditching the Locals, but he hasn t put much pressure on her to go 47 back. That s important to her, especially because Ashley knows that if things get bad, it will be Travis who suffers. 48 My brother s got power over me. He s supposed to make me listen, she says. They will put him in check. 49 Ashley spent her first few months back home in Sioux City indoors, playing computer games and hanging out with John s 50 kids. She was still in foster care at the time, but she ran away so much that a judge finally 51 let her move back in with her mom and her mom s boyfriend. I just wanted to go home, says Ashley. 52 They live in an old, two-story house. Across the street is a halfway house, aluminum foil covering the windows. 53 Her little sisters race around on hot pink

5 bikes. They obviously adore Ashley. When I ask them how they feel 54 about their sister being in the Locals, they seem freaked out. After we finished taking the pictures for this story, 55 Mandy and Ashley took off for a friend s house. Ashley made it home for curfew, but Mandy disappeared for more 56 than two weeks. A family friend spotted her at a dance club and told Peggy, who called the police. Mandy 57 was back with the Locals and doing drugs. Because she broke probation, the court has ordered her to do at 58 least six months in a juvenile center out of state. Ashley is angry that Mandy has gone back, and hopeful 59 that she won t end up the same way. She wants to go to college to learn to help people, and 60 she wants to be there for her younger siblings. Some people hate you just because you get out, Ashley says slowly. But you gain a lot of respect from other people, like teachers and cops and your parents. Still, she says, it will always be a part of me. It was me. Article by Stephanie Booth YM Magazine, December 2003

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