“I initially took it lightly thinking that maybe it is exaggerated. Later, when I did some digging on Twitter and Instagram, I realised the gravity of the situation. It made me angry. When I read the stories and chats myself, I completely lost it. I was not aware that there were groups that would stoop to this level. Frankly, I took my time to believe this was true,” says Aarnav Gupta, a student in India.
Eighteen-year-old Aarnav knew two of the boys from the “Bois Locker Room” Instagram chat group.
He recalls feeling “disgusted” after reading the chats that went viral on social media earlier this week.
“I took to Instagram where my best friend had posted stories about the chats going viral while also tagging one of the accounts which exposed them. I directly went to those accounts and read the entire thing. I was disgusted. Genuinely disgusted. On seeing the names of the people, I realised I knew two of them. Not only I’m disturbed that two of them are fellow classmates, I'm also disgusted by the fact that I saw one of them as a really good friend once. It is nauseating to come to terms with the fact that these are the people I’ve interacted so often in school,” Aarnav tells.
Admin of rape chat group on Instagram arrested
The boys locker room controversy has once again raised questions about the male privilege and forces urgent introspection into how society raises its sons.
An Instagram chat group 'Bois Locker Room', with hundreds of boys from top-notch south Delhi schools, was serving as a safe haven for sharing pictures of underage girls, objectifying them and planning gangrapes. Most members of the group were minor boys.
The casual misogyny and normalisation of rape as seen in the group is not likely a divergence from the usual. Such groups have existed for a long time in every age group, only switching platforms over the years.
Aarnav asserts that though India's law tends to protect the minor by sending them to juvenile homes, when found guilty of committing a crime, they are well aware of their actions. “It is not like the minor doesn’t know how sick their act is.”
Screenshots of shocking student rape chat group go viral
When asked about the reaction of his parents, Aarnav says he told his parents immediately about what had happened. “They [parents] have met and known one of the guys involved. My mom is still nauseated by it. They both read about the entire incident the same night itself. My dad gave me a sort of pep talk that I do not ever engage in anything like this. He advised me to recheck all the groups I am a part of and leave everything that might be even slightly suspicious. Both of my parents were shaken. Even earlier today, my mom talked about it in disbelief. She can’t come to terms with the fact that all these boys were 16-18 years old.”
Thread: Students who are 16, 17 years old, are casually talking of gang raping girls and women, swapping nudes without the consent of these women on Reddit, with not even a hint of fear of exposure. The dire crisis of rape womxn face, starts with this rape culture #boyslockerroom— #MeTooIndia (@IndiaMeToo) May 4, 2020
The chats are yet another window to toxic masculinity and predominant rape culture thriving among the youth of the country, not just the illiterate or disadvantaged but the elite and well-education children. The acts and conversations in the Bois Locker Room are not only wrong but also criminal.
The only way to alleviate this toxic rape culture is an open discussion on sex and gender between children and their parents. It is important to talk to children about consent. Boys must be told that women must be treated as humans and not objects. Patriarchy in the country has created a dystopia where young boys and men belonging to good, well-educated families unapologetically discuss raping young girls.
The Bois Locker Room exposes many ugly realities of the society and it is time those are addressed and controlled. Diluting sexual misconduct and sexual remarks as regular locker room talk is extremely problematic. The need of the hour is to address this head on before it is too late to realise that society had been breeding potential rapists.
The article originally appeared for India Times
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