Carlene Firmin caused a bit of a stir this year when she said that rape was being used “as a weapon of choice”. In fact, it was the report she authored about women’s experience of gangs, which said: “Sexual violence and exploitation are significant weapons used against females associated with, or involved in, gang violence.”
The evidence was based on the experiences of 352 gang-associated women and girls interviewed as part of a study led by Firmin. Interviewees included relatives and girlfriends of male gang members and young female offenders who saw themselves as part of a gang, although it was often via a relationship with a male gang member. What they all shared was the risk of being raped as retaliation.