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Boys Locker Room: How A Bunch of Teenagers Are Discussing Rape Through Social Media!

Here’s what happened and how you can protect yourself!

A group of teenagers from Delhi were caught with a group chat in which they degraded women in every way possible. The group of young schoolboys who are said to be from top schools in Delhi and are between the ages of 17 – 18 were found part of a social media group called “Bois Locker Room”. The group circulated images of girls without their consent and conversations extended from demeaning them, slut-shaming them, and casually planning to gang-rape them. 

The crime came into light when a fellow schoolmate who was added to the group decided to take screenshots of the chats and send it to the girls involved. The brave girls then went public on social media about the issue. The controversy flared up after several social media users posted screenshots on Instagram and Twitter with the new trending hashtag #BoysLockerRoom . A Case was filed by the Delhi Police, and the cyber-crime division has reached out to Instagram for more details on the group.

 

It’s found that the things have not yet been sorted and even after the group was deactivated the boys have created another group which they are using to threaten the girls who have gone public to expose the crime. 

Words always lead to actions. 

The issue has stirred conversations about toxic masculinity in society yet again. What is more alarming is the prevalence of rape culture breeding in the minds of young educated boys. But this form of harassment stands different. How you may ask? 

Many in the world believe that it is not a crime until it’s done. Until someone is physically hurt, or tormented. Are we to sit and rank all the ways humans can inflict harm on one another, ranked by severity? The majority of the debate that is circulating around the issue is “They just spoke about it.” “No one got hurt.” And to our greatest disappointment “Groups like these are common, so what?” Remember words always lead to actions. 

What you are choosing to ignore can be potentially a crime!

As a regular girl who uses Instagram, I’m aware of such groups that prevail. I have seen fake accounts, and I have come across obscene groups, and I’m sure at least 80% of Instagram users have been in a way or another exposed to such situations  but don’t do anything further than exiting the group immediately or blocking the account that sends random texts like “Hi sexy”. And that is how we have managed to normalise cyber-bullying. 

To curb sexual harassment or violence against women we need to first define it. What you are choosing to ignore or what’s disturbing you can be potentially a crime. So here is all that constitutes crime and harassment on Social Media. All that you can report and are actually illegal! 

Anti-Cyber Bullying Laws in India:           

How to Stop, Prevent Cyberbullying | cyberbullying laws ...                 

Following are some cyber laws though that cover some of the acts classified as cyberbullying in India.

Sec.66A – Sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.

Sec.66C – Identity Theft

Sec.66D – Cheating by personation by using the computer resource

Sec.66E – Violation of privacy

Sec.67B – Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in any sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form

Sec.72 – Breach of confidentiality and privacy

Sec.503  – Sending threatening messages through email

Sec.509 IPC – Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman

Sec.499 IPC – Sending defamatory messages through email

Sec .500 IPC – Email Abuse

Portals to complain and helplines: 

National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal: https://www.cybercrime.gov.in/ 

This portal is an initiative of the Government of India to facilitate victims/ complainants to report cybercrime complaints online. From crimes like gang rapes, child molestations, etc the portal also attends cybercrimes such as mobile crimes, online, and social media crimes. You can report an online harassment incident even if you have suffered on a very minor level.

Know your rights, laws, and fight for yourself. Take the first step, stand up for the women around you, make your voices heard, and do not normalise online harassment. Let’s bring these hiding-behind the screen faces to the spotlight.  

By Sruthi Ravinder 

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