From Nirbhaya to the Hyderabad gang-rape case, shameful incidents like these have time and again jolted the collective conscience of the nation and reignited the debate about how we need to raise our boys better. But a leaked Instagram chat of teenage boys from Delhi has exposed how as a society we have failed to learn anything from these mind-numbing incidents of violence against women. Exposing the rape culture prevailing in our society and the rotten mindset of some so-called well-educated boys, an Instagram chat group, which was allegedly used for sharing photos of young girls, objectifying them and promotion of rape culture, has now come to light. The group, named Bois Locker Room, allegedly run by a group of young boys from South Delhi, was exposed by some women online on social media platforms.
The women claimed the group was not only used to sharing pictures of minors without their consent but was also used to body shame them. The pictures were allegedly further subjected to lewd comments and shaming women. The women, who exposed the group online, have taken up the issue with activists, lawyers and security agencies. The women claim that morphed photos of underage girls were shared on the group, which was used to share violent and sexually explicit comments about them. As the screenshots became viral, members of the group reportedly changed their user name. Meanwhile, another group called Bois Locker 2.0 has surfaced on social media. After posts blowing the cover on this group went viral, the Delhi Commission for Women took cognisance of the matter and issued notice to Instagram and the Delhi Police over it. Screenshots claiming underage boys making sexually violent comments against women have gone viral, wrote the DCW in their notice.
Meanwhile, the All-India Mahila Congress has demanded that the Centre look into the allegations and take appropriate action against the perpetrators. Many Twitter users also called out chats “straight up sexual harassment” and “plain disgusting”, asking the authorities to name, shame and punish the participants of the group. This is not the first time that such shameful acts have come to light. In December 2019, a top-ranked school in Mumbai suspended eight boys for making violent and sexually explicit comments about their classmates on a WhatsApp group. In a country where a woman reports a rape every 15 minutes, according to the National Crime records Bureau’s 2018 report, and cybercrime is on the rise, leaked chats like these are a grim reminder of the deep-rooted misogyny prevailing in our society. Perhaps it’s time to go beyond this incident, and not stop at punishing these boys but also thinking of how to uproot the toxic masculinity gnawing at our very foundation, as proven by this Instagram group.