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Boy’s Locker Room: Is the Virtual World Safe Enough for Women?

Let's throw light upon a recent Cybercrime incident in Delhi

By Muskan Bhatnagar

They say the environment is not safe for women outside these days. My question is, are they safe in the virtual world of social media? Are they safe inside their homes, just using their mobile phones? The answer is a complete NO, it seems. The debates seem to be endless on such topics but, real or virtual doesn’t matter, women can’t feel safe has to be a fact. Online harassment and cyberbullying seem to be a major threat to women. And the number of cases tends to increase each day.

Women account for only 30% of social media users, out of which 41% of women have faced online harassment according to a survey conducted in 2017.

With this, let’s bring in light the recent horrifying case of Delhi schoolboys glorifying Gang rape in a chat group named “boy’s locker room”.

The incident revolves around a group of teenage boys who made a chat group on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat and allegedly used it to share pictures of underaged girls, pass lewd comments on their body, objectify them and plan to ‘gang rape’ them. The group of boys was busted when a south Delhi girl shared a screenshot of the chat group on twitter.

“A group of south Delhi guys aged 17-18 types have this Instagram group chat 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 (sic),” the Twitter user wrote as she busted the boys.

The incident has taken the internet by storm and is getting a high amount of coverage as many teenagers have identified the perpetrators as their classmates and known. Users demand police action against the boys who passed offensive comments. Many stories are circulating around the internet about the incident.

Women
Screenshot via Instagram handle @niskanagpal

Most of the boys involved in the shameful incident belong to the age category of 15 to 18 years and study in well-known schools of Delhi. Then why is it so that boys who aren’t even adults yet are passing such derogatory remarks on women? Is it the lack of sex education? Or excessive privilege is given to teenagers? Is this the freedom of speech and expression we talk about? Or the inessential accessibility to social media and the internet?

The women seem to be furious and disgusted with the act but not many seem to be shocked. The reason being that the rape culture and objectification of women is getting so prevalent in the society that it has normalized within our mindsets. Women seem to have accepted that this mentality persists in society as such cases are coming in light almost every day. Women always tend to take a stand for themselves, fight for their dignity but it’s been years and they haven’t received anything for that matter.

Each time a girl or a woman takes a stand for herself, there’s a constant fear in the back of her mind. Fear of being threatened, fear of being followed, fear of being a victim, and whatnot. Taking a stand for yourself in a world where it is so easy for minor boys to ‘plan a gang rape’ of a girl is a difficult task.

There may be hundreds of women who might quit social media or remove their pictures from their social media handles after this episode.

Read More: Don’t Lose Hope But Use This Time to Find Inspiration and Design: Anita Dongre

This incident is an objectification of women, especially and unfortunately underaged girls, and shows the male toxicity prevalent in society for ages. Still, we come across people who rather than talking about the cause, are speaking for and against the people involved, and are arguing within themselves on social media. Some taking stands for perpetrators, some talking against the victims, some glorifying the accounts of the people who brought the incident in light.

Well, it’s not about questioning the ‘Inactive members of the group’ or the ‘Past of the victims’ anymore. It’s totally and completely about the rape mindset which has been rooted in the minds of underaged boys, which can be a threat to society. It’s about taking a stand for women and speaking for the cause. It’s about being able to make a change in society and the mindset which we have been failing to change for years. It’s about the audacity of underaged boys to freely plan a gang rape of a girl and their audacity to pass lewd comments on females with no regrets.

This has to be one of the most shameful incidents of cybercrime as both the victims as well as the perpetrators are underaged.

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