If there’s one Twitter trend that made our skin crawl in recent times, it has to be ‘bois locker room’. At first it seemed like the name of a new show about some teens living their campus life. However, it didn’t take long for reality to sink in after going through multiple screenshots and deducing the trend to be a chat group of teens that was busted for glorifying rape, degrading underage girls, revenge porn and what not.
It all begins with the "oh it's boys talk" - a modest way to describe the lewd conversations of ones deepest darkest desires, sexual encounters, etc. Thanks to unlimited internet, this has entered the social media convention.
Imagine a chat group of minors that shares nude pictures of you or the ones you know, have met, and are friends with. A group that discusses, they will be raped, humiliated, threatened and shamed on social media. The thought of someone rating your privates on a chat without your knowledge is beyond despicable.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) took cognizance of a research last month, highlighting 95% increase in online child porn traffic during the nationwide lockdown. The study also said that millions of paedophiles have migrated online, making the internet extremely unsafe for children.
The Director of Intelligence Bureau, Arvind Kumar, asserted that approximately 25,000 Cyber Tipline reports have been received so far in the country as of Jan 2020. "Digital technologies and the internet have not only spurred cyber crimes, but also made them much more sophisticated", he said.
The retaliation of ‘bois locker room’ did result in the necessary probe, arrest and cyber crime investigation, but what hit harder, was the social media trial that erupted in no time. If the chat wasn’t sickening enough there were those rooting for them and further normalising rape culture.
Some of the constant arguments were “They didn’t rape anyone right, they just discussed it.” Ah, the sympathy here is a gentle reminder that humanity exists. If only they knew how to churn it for the greater good. Even a dummies guide to criminal psychology suggests a person to emit the behaviour of a psychopath, sociopath or narcissist. This chat group is an amalgam of everything. The boys showed no signs or guilt, empathy or remorse for what they had done and how far they had come along with it. For anyone still questioning whether they raped or no, would it be okay if they did and then this was busted? At least it would have been easier to prove that indeed it was criminal intent. Stopping at its source, regardless of age, is why a country has juvenile crimes in the first place. FYI your question is invalid and should not exist.
Then there’s the favourite weapon, “taali ek haath se nahi bajti”. The desi idiom should only be used when consent is involved. Otherwise, you’re only encouraging imbeciles who also presume “no means yes”. Not to mention, the bandwagon crusading “they’re just kids” or “this happens in all groups”. NO IT DOESN’T. Stop right there. This can be expected from their folks, but not at large. Remember how the world awaited death of Nirbhaya convicts, and yet their family members fought and cried, pleading, begging to cut them some slack? Its human nature, but that doesn’t mean that the perpetrators deserve to be treated lightly.
And if that wasn’t enough, there was a chunk that also stated how these girls are looking for fame. Duh, they were already famous with Instagram followers in ‘Ks’. Even then, they took it up putting their reputation on the line, because guess what, victim blaming is favoured even today. Haven’t we already heard how victims are judged based on what they wear? Sadly they’re the ones who faced backlash and decided to make their blogger profiles private.
Cyber crimes are underrated, but here’s a piece of advice, do not underestimate the unit. You might be a faceless troll going by the username as big as your bank account number, but there’s no escape if you’re reported.
According to Parry Aftab, a US-based lawyer and internet safety expert who founded the internet safety organisation WiredSafety, "Sexting, sextortion on the internet - mainly with young boys, child porn, violence against women in the form of revenge porn and cyber terrorism are turning into a huge issue in India and they should be taken care as soon as possible.”
Be it ‘boys locker room’ or anything else on similar ground, even a milligram of sympathy makes the ones standing up lose hope and discourages them despite taking the right path.
Note: Sections 66E, 67, and 67A of the IT Act provide for the punishment and fine for violation of privacy, publishing or transmitting of obscene material and publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit material respectively in electronic form. Section 67B of the Act specifically provides stringent punishment for publishing, browsing or transmitting child pornography in electronic form.