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.
Patriarchy is there in our movies, political parties & all around us.
Misogynistic & Sexist culture comes from a deep sense of entitlement that lingers everywhere in Indian society regardless of caste, class & education.
An issue which we all need to address.#boyslockerroom
— Advaid (അദ്വൈത്) (@Advaidism) May 4, 2020
why are “boys locker room” chats so normalised? how is it okay to comment cheaply on a girl’s physical appearance? this should not be normalised. an incident took place today which makes me feel unsafe as a woman. i stand against it, action should be taken.
— anuvaa (@anuvaa1) May 3, 2020
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:
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