The current generation is growing up and fully engrossed in technology. Basically, in current scenario peoples of all age groups have access to highly personalized social media. Agitated sexual depiction of men and women can create a dent in the understanding of sexual behavior and normalize the sexual justification of women and even children. Media plays an enormous role in affecting children’s behavioral development. Exposure of the things which are inappropriate for children’s age group and includes violent content can make an adverse impact on the thought-process of a child, which can lead to moral degradation of society as a whole. Exposure to inappropriate content can create more interest in them regarding that field and also make them more susceptible to being taken advantage of or may involve them in crimes. Due to advances in technology, the cloak of anonymity can reduce one’s barriers and engage in activities that would not otherwise occur. Various chat rooms which guarantee privacy, in these days have become a digital hangout for teenagers.
During lockdown, when the whole world is dealing with the nationwide pandemic of COVID-19, an interrupting news occur on May 4th, 2020 about the bois locker room, where India became a witness to the debate on internal rape and the crime of rape culture. The issue has raised serious concerns about consent, confidentiality and the ‘boys will be boys’ culture. As most of the boys are young (underage), they would be prosecuted under the Juvenile Justice Act.
What is Juvenile Justice?
Juvenile Justice is a legal structure which defines “justice for juvenile”, as per the Indian Legal System. The system is giving a special treatment and protection to juvenile criminals. Juvenile Criminals, means a crime committed by youth who has not attain the age of majority i.e. below the age of 18 years. There has been some important changes have been made which include, a juvenile under the age group of 16 to 18 years then, juvenile will be tried as an adult.
Background of the BOIS Locker Room:
A recent social media event, which involved a chat room named as, Bois Locker Room became the curious public attention when an Instagram user, on May 3rd, 2020, leaked chats from the group which also includes obscene pictures of girls who are around 15-16 years old. A case was registered on the grounds of disseminating obscene/sexually explicit material, outraging the modesty of a woman, forgery and also for the use of obscene language.
The Delhi Police has taken a suo moto cognizance of the matter after, the Delhi Commission for Women took up the same and provided a notice to Instagram and Delhi Police. The Cyber Crime Cell of the Delhi Police has registered an FIR under sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act and Sections 465, 469, 471 and 509 of the IPC. Two other events that run parallel to the locker room scandal were falsely connected to it. In one of the incidents a girl on snapchat, a girl proposed a guy to gang-rape herself. It was apparently done to check the character (integrity) of the receiver. In another case which took a disastrous turn, a girl accused one Manav Singh, a 17-year old boy of molesting her in an Instagram post. Manav reportedly died of suicide after he is being started getting harassed on social media. This raises many questions, including accountability of social media trials where the public acts as the judge and gives judgment before the case even reaches the courts.
We need to understand that the ‘bois locker room’ incident is a symptom of a disease in our society, as it is not the root of it. The thread posted by the Instagram user emerge into a series of name-calling, blame games and also following rape threats in a bid to offload responsibility.
But in a way, it also excite conversations and emphasize on the need to talk about and debate on the need to propagate gender sensitivity, to have open conversations about sex as one of the reason is why the length of a skirt is sexualized. It is because a heavily part of the population has not received proper sex education which in turn, has changed into perverted perception about body parts and judging the character of women based on what they wear and even at some times they imposes responsibility on a victim because of what she wore when an incident happened. The case of Bois Locker Room has lifted the discussion about the rape culture that permeates within the society.
Actually, the police has registered an FIR when one of the girls claimed that she was receiving offensive and threat messages after she shared the screenshots of the chats. After this incident many questions were raised, one of them was can the morphed picture of the minor is to be taken as child sexual abuse and child pornography?
Basically, Child pornography means portrayal of minors through videos, photographs or computer-generated content in a clear sexually way. It is one of the most heinous crimes because it uplift the rape cases of the children among other things.
Result from the Investigation:
According to Delhi Police, a juvenile girl has created a fake profile in the name of a boy and chatted with another juvenile who is a boy, about “sexual assault” on a girl. The fake profile was named as “Siddharth”. The juvenile girl has also posted a derogatory post about herself on which other members has also reacted on that post.
By using that fake profile the girl suggested in the chat, a plan to sexually assault herself. The purpose of her behind send such kinds of messages is to check the reaction of the boy who is receiving those messages and also wants to know the strength of his character, especially in that case when a girl talk some bad things about herself. The receiver who is also a juvenile has declined to participate in any such plan suggested by “Siddharth” and he has stopped further communication with him.
It is bad to see that, the younger generation assumes that they have a say on a person’s body or character and we still have not resolved a constructive discourse to deal with this problem effectively. Legal punishments can cause fear in the minds of people but does not necessarily change their mind set. While an initiative move was taken by the Delhi Government to add gender sensitisation to the module, but in the end it resulted in mere campaigns with no or very less interest which is shown by the other institutions. What we need is to educate people, identify and debunk the problematic patterns at the very beginning. An effective discussion needs to be formulated, to tackle cyber bullying, to make people realize that their actions can lead them to legal consequences and educating the people at the receiving end of their rights and responsibilities so that they can use them in good way.
This blog is authored by Avnish Srivastava a student at Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University.