Women are speaking up about rape culture and misogyny after screenshots of a boys-only group where they discussed sexual assault plans emerged online.
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
An Indian Instagram user shared in the early hours of Monday morning screenshots of a group of 17 and 18-year-old boys discussing the details of how they planned to gang-rape underage girls. These boys, part of a group chat named "Boys Locker Room," shared photos and messages objectifying young girls, stating how they would have sex with them - even if by assault. The screenshots have caused a storm on Twitter and other social media platforms, where women have come forward to reveal their own experiences of "locker room talk." Even after the flurry of #MeToo, it appears sadly that little has changed.
After the screenshots were posted on Instagram, Twitter page Rapesfreeindia took to the website to share them. They stated, "A group of South Delhi boys in the age group of 17-18 have [an Instagram group chat] named "Bois Locker Room" where they were doing sh*tty things, [like objectifying] and morph pictures of girls of the same age group. These people are still not stopping and threatening people." It was later revealed that underage girls were also targets of their objectification. Over 22,500 tweets were soon posted - as of Monday afternoon - using the hashtag #BoysLockerRoom.
There's much more to #boyslockerroom controversy than what's being talked about. One look at insta IDs of girls who released this & boys & girls who were part of this & ur head starts spinning. Extreme nudity, drugs, alcohol, passed out nights, sex in class 9 - it's horrific! pic.twitter.com/iwET5AGOLc— Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) May 4, 2020
Uncultured teenage boys call us "feminist r**diyan".— Iqra Khilji (@Iqra_K_) May 4, 2020
Intellectual posers at law schools have called us "rad chics".
Misogyny and rape culture don't go away with economic class or education.
Privilege needs to be checked. Transgressions need to be punished. #boyslockerroom
Soon enough, the girl who originally shared the screenshots received death threats, with one boy claiming he would "f*ck her up." The call to identify these users and arrest has them has only grown stronger since. While several men have come to the defence of these users, they have been rightly called out for protecting would-be perpetrators of sexual assault. Twitter user ADreamersParade, for instance, posted, "If you're defending them in any way, if you're suggesting that these boys shouldn't be shamed, if you're saying that the girls should have had private accounts if you're putting even a fraction of blame on anyone but the boys involved, you're part of the problem."
A group of south delhi guys aged 17-18 types have this ig gc named "boy's locker room" where they shit on, objectify and morph pictures of girls their age. 2 boys from my school are a part of it. MY FRIENDS AND I ARE FREAKING OUT THIS IS SO EWWW AND NOW MY MOM WANTS ME TO QUIT IG— g (@gurrrii) May 3, 2020
Shortly after the United States had its own wave of #MeToo, the movement quickly reached India, with influential Bollywood - India's Hindi-language equivalent of Hollywood - actresses naming their assaulters. Tanushree Dutta, in particular, has famously been credited for igniting the national discourse about gender-based violence. While the impassioned discussion trickled down to address this issue in its various incarnations, such as marital rape and domestic abuse, India's pervasive rape culture seems to have squeezed through unscathed. The objectification of women is still seen as passable, as the norm.
Objectifying women or commenting about any girl's boobs, butt, lips etc and treating her as a sexual slave is sick. The word "RAPE" is being used so loosely. Moreover the society has normalised the misogyny to such an extent that such people take advantage #boyslockerroom pic.twitter.com/Rk7CAQVTZ2— Ananya Dasgupta (@AnanyaD18118390) May 4, 2020
Today, women at a young age still have to confront the sad truth that they are nothing but articles of the male gaze. Patriarchy, deeply entrenched in Indian society, has placed women at the bottom of the socioeconomic hierarchy. The institutions of religion and caste further complicate the already-complex structure of life for women in India. When one observes the cultural place of women in tandem with their socioeconomic standing, there is no doubt that women are seen only as objects - first, for the sexual pleasure of men, then, as birthing vessels. Perhaps it is the idea that men in India can get away with absolutely anything - acid attacks, rape, and abuse - that fuels the country's prevalent and seemingly unstoppable rape culture.
This is really something that can't be taken casually— Vedansh Singh Rajput (@VedanshSinghRa4) May 4, 2020
Neither these people are uneducated nor not knowing consequences of these types of ''crime"
But the thing is by knowing all they have no fear
Government have to take the charge
Bring them out
Justice #boyslockerroom pic.twitter.com/vB8yZFWCsO
In March this year, four men convicted with the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in 2012 were executed by hanging for their heinous crime. It was thought that such a severe punishment would hinder more men from committing the same crime. However, rape and rape culture are not so easily dismantled. At the root of this culture, is the belief that men and their masculinity are superior, that they must receive what they feel entitled to without compromise. It is in this manner that most men are raised, and then, as they grow up, their toxic masculinity rewarded.
Every time the subject of sex & sexuality education is raised, it comes under the scanner of "what about Indian culture" whataboutery. Indian culture isn't sexual violence and disrespect of women. So unless schools compulsorily address what's happening, nothing is going to change— #MeTooIndia (@IndiaMeToo) May 4, 2020
The #boyslockerroom chats are disturbing, disgusting, shocking but ultimately, not surprising. This is an endlessly repetitive pattern that patriarchy has not only given rise to, by excusing boys for terrible behaviour ('boys will be boys'), but has actively encouraged.#Thread— Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) May 4, 2020
If in 2020, boys as young as 17 continue to view their female peers as little more than sexual objects and do not see a problem in casually stating they would rape someone, there is, without a doubt, an inherent flaw in the way we raise our boys. At present, it is uncertain if the members of the "Boys Locker Room" group chat will be held accountable. Nonetheless, the dilemma extends much further. Men across India (and the world): it is time to rise to the occasion and challenge the status quo.
you know it’s funny how women at this hour aren’t surprised with what’s been happening. we’re annoyed & disgusted, yes but can you see how objectification & rape culture is being normalised in such ways? we women have always been subjected to such fuckery, always. #boyslockerroom— vas. (@cloudwhine) May 3, 2020
& this is not just about schooling/parenting,it’s this simple fact that while girls are always warned about the consequences of them speaking up, boys are always protected by this “Ladke hain galti hojati hai” narrative.(3/4) #boyslockerroom— Tanya (@tanyadubeyy) May 3, 2020
this is a start,we need to take some serious action but before the society needs to stop normalising the whole "boys will be boys"absurdity,this false sense of being privileged only bc they are men is making them think that they are free to do anything they want.#boyslockerroom pic.twitter.com/j26UwMoSCq— Swara K. (@swarak20) May 3, 2020