The majority of times I write and talk about adults speaking with young people, I normally mean the young men in the family. Reason being it’s the males who, more often than not, get caught up in the criminal justice system. However, young girls are not exempt from the system. Their numbers are on the rise and that is very disheartening. 

Recently a friend’s daughter and her buddy went out to Hillside with two young males. My friend’s daughter stays in the vicinity of Division and Pulaski streets. Her buddy stays around Chicago and Cicero avenues. The two young males are acquaintances of the girl living near Cicero Avenue. On the way back from Hillside, the girl who lives off of Cicero Avenue said she needed to get dropped off first. That should have been a major warning sign to my friend’s daughter. But it didn’t. 

After dropping the first girl off, my friend’s daughter was in the front seat next to the driver. The other male was sitting in the back. Another warning sign, especially since she didn’t really know either of the boys. The driver announced he had to go to the bathroom and wanted to pull into the alley to so do. A third and fourth warning sign. The two males were basically strangers and to even think of performing such an intimate act in front of a girl should have set off an alarm. Pulling into an alley for anything when you are in a car with males you don’t know is cause for even greater alarm.

Once in the alley, the young man in the back of the car began to beat my friend’s daughter upside her head. The driver joined in. Their objective? The hundreds of dollars my friend’s daughter had on her to buy a car. The two males successfully grabbed the money and my friend’s daughter was able to get out of the car and get onto the street, screaming and crying. The two thugs (I can finally call them what they are) drove off with the money and my friend’s daughter escaped with her life.

I am writing about this because just a couple of months ago, two other girls got into a van full of boys they didn’t know and ended up being raped and beaten. Thankfully someone saw what happened and called the police. In my friend’s daughter’s situation, a stranger saw her predicament and came to her rescue by calling the police. 

In both situations, the young girls’ low self-esteem was part of the reason they put themselves in dangerous situations. The mean streets of Chicago are not a setting in a movie or TV show. There are people who don’t value life and will kill and do harm with no regard for the consequences they have to pay. Although many of the thugs will end up in jail because of what they’ve done, just as many of them will do whatever it takes to prevent going to jail. In the end, it is normally their stupidity that ends up making it easy for the police to catch them. 

In my friend’s daughter’s case, the two thugs were known to her girlfriend. The fact that the girlfriend insisted on being the first one dropped off says … setup! So our young people need to know there’s a difference between a friend and a buddy. A friend wouldn’t set you up to get robbed. A buddy doesn’t really give a damn about you.

My friend’s daughter ended up being OK other than being shaken up. She got out alive even though all her car money is gone. But money can be replaced. Her young life can’t. I’m sharing what happened so you can tell your young girls the story and see how many of them recognize the warning signs. 

If they can’t, warn them about the dangers of being in a car with males they don’t know. Talk to them about carrying large sums of money that others know about. Everyone who is up in your face isn’t your friend. Lastly, the two young thugs are known and their arrest is inevitable. As a community, we need to address what we want to happen with individuals like them.

The prisons are never out of room and until we change the criminal behavior of some of our young men, they will continue to do stupid things and thus end up in jail.

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