Combating toxic culture #lockerroom

Toxic masculinity begins young, he tweeted Tuesday, referring to Instagram Bois Locker Room group, which has been trending on Twitter since May 3. Proof of how young toxic masculinity begins, the group consists primarily of teenage schoolchildren from prominent Delhi schools. The group's main goal was to discuss the anatomy of girls who were peers or acquaintances, share objectionable images of mostly underage girls without their consent, and pass lewd statements. After a group of girls and a couple of boys decided to leak this group's conversations on Sunday, the conversation in the locker room and their role in spreading the culture of rape became a hotly debated topic.

Many have pointed out that while the case is appalling and the content creepy, it hasn't surprised them. For such changing rooms we are around us. From private social media groups and college chats to informal offline meetings at workplaces, many boys and men discuss and objectify women as a recreational activity.

How starts

Male role models: The first introduction to this type of behavior comes from male role models. They have seen men in their own homes comment on How tight her ** is and How deep her cleavage is. Men talk about how many women have connected, associating it with masculinity, says clinical psychologist Dr. Varkha Chulani.

Group pressure: Social acceptance among peers means everything to young people, and they can become part of the cool group, says Dr. Ratna Sharma, a psychologist.

The mentality of Sex is taboo: “We have always avoided talking about sex and sexuality. Therefore, we see that young people refer to the erroneous information available on the web. What do we see in pornography? It is not a sexual act but of torture. These sites are readily available to teens, and that's their sex education 101, says Dr. Shalini Sharma, a physiologist. When it comes to schools, and I can't emphasize this enough, sex education and mindfulness should be an integral part of the curriculum, says Dr. Ratna, adding: They must learn not to objectify the body of the opposite gender.

The many children's locker rooms around us

Lack of action is daunting

Rashika Kumar, an academic researcher, says: “At university, a friend told me about a private Facebook group in which our classmates shared photos of university girls and rated them. My friend finally called them and they kicked him out of the group. When I complained, the boys were arrested but the tone of the reprimand was very soft. I clearly remember that a teacher smiled and said: These boys! The tone was fun. It was very discouraging.

Objectifying women is a rite of passage

Devika *, an aspiring fashion designer, had to transfer to another university after her transformed photos were posted to a WhatsApp group by her classmates. She says: “Unfortunately, objectifying women is almost a rite of passage for most men. Such behavior is seen as something that children will do. People say they will learn when they are older. But how will they learn if you don't punish them? Behavior and culture should be called, not just the act.

Technology is just a means

Abeer Sharma, un ingeniero de software de 32 años, que admite haber estado al tanto de muchos de estos grupos a lo largo de los años, dice: “Primero en la escuela y luego en el trabajo, veía a hombres sentados y hablando de mujeres en el más crudo de los términos. En la escuela, este chico tenía algunas fotos de una chica de la clase, copias impresas, y las distribuía entre los chicos. Technology is just a means .

If you object, you are not one of the boys

Ravi Sharma *, an administration executive, relates: “I was part of a WhatsApp group where the boys shared photos of colleagues and friends and the body embarrassed them or made obscene comments. I left the group but yes, I never opposed what was shared there. You cannot do that because you are ostracized. Suddenly, you are no longer one of the boys.

At office parties, men discussed their conquests

Niti Bansal *, who used to work with a consultant, “at office parties, a group of about 8-10 men, who called themselves Big Boys Club, entered a room and talked about women. This conversation included conversations about his conquests and the objectification of the women around him. All of these were adult men, some of them in their forties with sons, even daughters, of their own. ”

Women who say this are not great

Prerna Ashok, who works in the hotel industry, saw several of her friends turn against her in college when she called some of her former college classmates for circulating their photos in a similar group. She shares: “As in this case, you would see women jumping in defense of their friends, boyfriends or brothers when they were called because they were sexists. Those who opposed them would be labeled as psycho-feminists and not cool. Once a classmate asked me: Why can't you be calmer like those girls?

(* Names changed)

This pyramid of rape culture created by an NGO that promotes consensual encounters demonstrates how the tolerance of the actions at the bottom subsequently supports or excuses the previous actions

What to do when it comes to a locker room situation:

Inform parents or teachers if they added you to that group

Haris Khan, 21, a resident of the Defense Colony, is reportedly one of the first to hear of this group and shared the screenshots of the chats. “A minor child was randomly added to this group on Friday. I didn't know a single person in the group. After viewing the conversation and photos in the group, he took screenshots and sent them to a friend whose photos were shared in the group. Then he shared the screenshots with me and I was completely amazed ... We located eight girls whose photos were circulating in the group, five of whom were minors. I suggested that we should file a police report or at least report the children's accounts. I also thought that we should first have permission from underage girls if they feel comfortable talking to their parents, ”says Haris.

So what should you do if you are in a similar toxic group? “No matter how overwhelming it may be, you should contact the parents or family you trust. Simply leaving the group is not the solution. We always suggest that young people do not take screenshots or forward those messages to anyone, even if their intention is to inform or warn others. Give the phone to guardians, teachers, or parents, who can contact the police. They need not worry or panic if they have not engaged in such conversations. The sooner you raise the alarm, the better, says Rajendra Kumar, a security expert.

Warn your child if you see him engage in toxic behavior

If a parent has discovered that their child has sent such obscene messages and/or has been part of that group, what is the best way to deal with the situation? Dr. Varkha responds: “The key is to educate and teach children the consequences of what they do. Ask the child to sit down, show you his phone, and explain what he was thinking. Have them delete the photos in front of them, apologize to the person in question, and stop associating with friends who encourage this behavior.

Don't be afraid to seek help if you are a victim

One of the victims in the current case tells us: “I was very afraid to trust my parents because I felt they would be furious with me. Finally I told them, just to receive a hug from my mother. She told me it's not my fault and that she and my father will support me. She adds: “Although we are receiving a lot of support on social media, it is only making children more aggressive. They have been blackmailing us and now they have created another group, where they have also begun to share transformed images of us. They also hacked one of the girls' accounts after this incident.

Rakshit Tandon, cybersecurity advisor to police departments, who also conducts cybersecurity training in schools, says: “Report the account immediately in the correct section: bullying, nudity, non-consensual image sharing, etc. This is important because then the social media platform can easily investigate and lock the account. If the section is incorrect, they will take no action. You should also report it to . You can also report anonymously. Don't get in touch with the person who shared your photos.

Rooheen Kalra, lawyer and District Courts, says: According to Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code, a victim gets protection against the disclosure of his identity, and those who examine the case - police, lawyers and lawyer - cannot disclose the name of the person in question in a public forum.

Bois Locker Room Case: Delhi Updates

10 members identified, devices seized: Delhi Police

A statement issued by the Delhi Police says, “A case FIR under relevant sections of the IT Act and the IPC was registered at PS Special Cell and investigation has been taken up by CyPAD Unit. The concerned platform, i.e. Instagram, has been asked to provide the details of the alleged accounts involved in the group. The details are awaited. As of now, about 10 members of the group have been identified. The identified members who are major, are being examined. The minor members of the group are being dealt with as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act. The devices used to engage in the offensive, vulgar communication have been seized from the identified group members. ”

Should give the strictest punishment: DCW

Swati Maliwal, President of DCW, says: “Right now, a child has been arrested and the police are questioning others. All will be arrested, and according to the law, whatever the punishment that must be given. But they should receive the strictest punishment. The fact is that the harassment is not over and the girls who exposed them are being threatened.

Getting calls from parents in panic: cyber security advisor

Rakshit Tandon, who conducts cybersecurity training in schools, says: “After this news came out, I started receiving panic messages from parents and students. In 24 hours, I received more than 300 messages. Group participants and their families also receive threats on social media. We should let the law take its course.

The child's father asks the victim to withdraw the complaint

“We are a group of seven girls whose photos were shared in the group. A girl received a call from the mother of one of the boys. He was crying and asked for forgiveness. In addition, she said that since there were 26 children in the group, the fault should not be entirely with her son. He added that he understands that his son did something wrong, but that he would do anything to save him. He repeatedly asked the girl to drop the case, ”says a 19-year-old girl who is one of the victims. He adds that the boy's mother got contact with the girl because they are both from the same school in Delhi.

-With contributions from Ashni Dhaor, Abhimanyu Mathur, Niharika Lal, Amrita Prasad, Saptaparna Biswas, Rishabh Deb and Ismat Tahseen