I believe it's a good thing that Jen kept her twelve-year-old figure well into her high school years. She had enough troubles with boys as it was!
Jennifer has had a frail grasp of herself in relation to others for a long time. When her parents divorced, she felt insecure for the first time in her life. She remembers clearly her first emotion the day her parents told her they were divorcing--it was shame. Somehow, she wasn't enough for them. She and her brother weren't worth the effort to remain a family. That's how she felt.
The assault at whale park destroyed the last bit of confidence she had left. It spread through her like poison. She took on the demeanor of an abused person. Even though it was against her will--Jennifer didn't realize for many years that the assault at whale park was his crime, not hers. She labeled herself a slut rather than label him a rapist. What is it about people who blame themselves for everything? Where does that come from? Jennifer didn't seek help for any of her problems. She tried to be tough. She bore the responsibility.
But young Jennifer wasn't tough, she was hyper-sensitive. If she were a zoo animal--she would have required careful attention. Jennifer's upbringing goes against everything a zoo keeper is taught about how to keep animals healthy and happy. Animals, especially primates, need consistency, security, stability, lasting social relationships, stimulation, protection, family bonds etc. Adjustments to living conditions need to be made slowly and infrequently.
Jennifer experienced frequent moves, separation from key family members (mother, father, brother), radical dietary, cultural and temperature changes from state to state, constant grieving for the missing parent, broken friendships, attacks from juvenile males and the stress of trying to fit in with a new father and brother.
Just because Jennifer is a human being who can think, doesn't mean that she can handle all of this upheaval any better than a sensitive, social animal like a gorilla could. Insecurity and abnormal behavior would be expected with the gorilla. It would need to be rehabilitated. It won't be a big surprise when Jennifer ends up in a rehab center, not once, but twice!
People expect teens to act out. Adding hormones to immaturity is just asking for trouble. Parents still need to be aware that some behaviors aren't "normal". It is obvious when an animal or a human baby is failing to thrive. It's not so obvious in teens.
I don't have the answers but I think teens are more fragile than they act. They need everything that a two-year old needs--fuel for their growing body, time-outs after their tantrums, lots of sleep, clear boundaries, mommy-and-me time, huge praise when they do well, lots of hugs, two parents (whenever possible), snacks and naps, supervised play dates, pencils to chew on (yes, teenagers are still teething), exercise to tire them out and stability.
They are not always lovable, they can be more like porcupines than bunnies--but the teen years are the worst years to let a child fend for them self. We should care for them with the same quality and attention to detail that the animals get in the zoo, at minimum! (A good zoo, that is!)