A group of Ottawa teenagers pleaded not guilty to over 74 individual charges on Tuesday, including human trafficking, abduction, forcible confinement, robbery, sexual assault, assault, and printing and publishing child pornography. So far, seven victims of this brutal prostitution ring have come forward to testify against their "pimps": three 16- and 17-year-old girls. Not unlike cases of female-on-male rape, many have felt the need to joke about the fact that females orchestrated this business (most often citing the Jay-Z lyric "Ladies is pimps too"). While the clear misogynists are the accused teenage girls, their actions only reflect society's negative views of women.
All three girls were apparently model community members, with one being praised as "a class valedictorian and the go-to babysitter on her street" during the trial. While many convicts appear to be in a good place prior to committing their crimes, it would seem these girls were far too young to have been able to balance their deviance with their productive lives. In short, it just doesn't make any sense. How do teenage girls become vicious pimps?
It's important to note how horrible their actions became: victims were abducted, forced to pose nude, photographed, brought to "appointments" with men who were all too willing to rape young girls, and the prostitutes were beaten if they did not comply. The money the victims "made" from their actions was immediately taken away and they were sent home. One 13-year-old victim was dropped off by her mother, who was under the impression she was there for a sleepover. The accused even gave the girls marijuana and alcohol until they passed out.
Pimp culture is misogyny. These victims, and all who partake in prostitution against their wills, were dehumanized and had their own bodies exploited for no personal gain. When the pimp is a man, he is often seen as the "protector" of the women and girls that work for him, taking their money for their own safety or to advertise their services. When the pimp is a woman ... it's not as clear. The accused seemed to come into their own naturally, though, as evidenced by their Twitter posts that occurred during several of the assaults.
"Ain't no problem like a hoe problem. I've got hoe problemssss [sic]," read one.
Another boasted, "I'm getting to tha money, n tha money getting to me [sic]."
Rap lyrics? Perhaps. But the point here is that these teenagers were indeed corrupted — maybe not by "a variety of mass-media sources" themselves, but by the views upon which much of the media rely for success. This still doesn't make the accused victims themselves, but it shows how easily people can turn into violent misogynists. Their transition from being outwardly model children to desperate, dangerous pimps is certainly cause for concern.
The real victims deserve all the justice in the world for the unspeakable pain and violence against them. They were unfairly treated, used for someone else's sick game, and need to understand that none of this was their fault in the least. They were tricked by a slew of hateful people who didn't care about them. The three teenagers, if convicted, deserve the harshest punishment that can be levied against them; not only for their countless crimes against the victims, but for their crimes against women.