TW: Sexual assault
Scrolling through social media is like tiptoeing through a minefield. There are safe spots and then there are places that trigger an explosion you never saw coming. I guess that happened to me in a way as I swiped through my Instagram stories and saw the blood-chilling screenshots that now are a part of a big atrocity. “Boyslockerroom,” an Instagram group chat consisting of 15 and 16-year-old boys from South Delhi regularly used the chat in order to look up girls, most of them underage on Instagram, morph their images, objectify them, sexualize them and talk about how they would gang rape them.
Leaked screenshots of the chat including their usernames resulted in a large part of the internet calling them out while many others decided to defend them, which speak volumes about the normalized objectification of women. Even more surprising was when a girl who was a target of their heinous behaviours called them out, her objections were laughed off and deemed unimportant. After changing their usernames, many of the boys continued their wrongdoings while others deactivated their accounts in order to avoid confrontation and possible criminal charges.
Although a legal action against the members of the group chat has already begun, it’s telling how women at this hour aren’t surprised with what’s been happening. They’re annoyed & disgusted, yes but now everyone can now openly see how objectification & rape culture is being normalized in such ways. women have always been subjected to such behaviour both online and in real life. But it’s especially chilling how, even under lockdown, women feel unsafe and objectified.
What media doesn’t talk about is how this is almost normalized and experienced by women all over the world. What starts with lewd and suggestive comments, inappropriate messages in the personal messages to group discussions of raping someone and finally to the act itself. It’s heartbreaking enough but now its time to call out the ones who do wrong and all unsolicited and targeted comments on sexual harassment were could’ve been avoided if they just covered themselves up.
Women are often expected to watch what they do, speak and wear because a patriarchal society dictates that it’s never the men who did wrong; it must’ve been the woman’s fault. In this case, the defendants of this situation claimed that the boys were young and therefore “had no idea of what they were doing” but this standard never seems to extend to women and their actions. It’s time we start calling out men for whatever they’re responsible for because rape culture is rape culture and it has nothing to do with age. Nobody should have the privilege of using their gender, sexuality and personal connections to escape justice. If the boys are ‘mature’ enough to objectify and sexualize women & deliver rape threats then they are mature enough to bear the brunt as well.