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#BoysLockerRoom: A group chat where boys discuss in detail how they'll gang-rape underage girls

Women are speaking up about rape culture and misogyny after screenshots of a boys-only group where they discussed sexual assault plans emerged online.

#BoysLockerRoom: A group chat where boys discuss in detail how they'll gang-rape underage girls
Image Source: (L) shinchan_asc / Twitter(R) Westend61 / Getty Images

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.






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."








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.




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.




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.






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.







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