Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
The 'bois locker room' incident has fuelled a lot of outrage over social media. Giving us flashbacks of the #MeToo movement, students have taken to social media to tell stories of harassment, abuse and molestation -- focusing on experiences they have had in school and college.
There are stories in families and educational institutions that remain untold because survivors are afraid of coming forward to call out their abusers. The recent posts on social media have revealed that high school, for a lot of people, has not been fun. A number of them are now narrating the trauma they have suffered.
In the backdrop of the sudden fury over social media, a class 12 student allegedly committed suicide in Gurugram's DLF phase 5 area on the night of May 5. The student jumped from the balcony of his flat on the 11th floor at around 11 pm. Police said that the tragic incident took place hours after the boy was named by a girl in a "MeToo" post on Instagram in connection with the 'Bois Locker Room' group controversy.
In light of the recent occurrence, The Logical Indian decided to answer important questions that detractors are asking to shift the blame on girls.
Why Should We Always Believe The Girls And Let Boys Die?
Every survivor has the right to call out their abuser(s). If the deceased was really guilty, then he deserved to be exposed.
However, if he was innocent, the law would have taken its course of action.
It is a common belief that in cases of sexual assault, women are more easily believed, and we cannot rule that out. The absence of gender-neutral laws makes it easier for men to fall prey to false allegations by women. So while there is a conscious effort to address the women who are wronged, men often lose a spot.
However, if the deceased was guilty, the girl who posted about him on social media cannot be blamed for his suicide, because each one of us has the right to speak up, and speaking up does not equal to propagating suicide.
Girls 'Objectify' Too!
India's rape culture has been questioned and talked about time and again. If we consider the ratio between men who have committed sexual offences and women who have done the same, there is no doubt that women have been the victims on maximum occasions.
Men have raped month-old babies and women in their 90s. They feel entitled to talk disparagingly about women, shame them for wearing 'inappropriate' clothes and consuming alcohol, make lewd remarks and leer at them.
A day after 'bois locker room' was busted, another alleged version of 'girl's locker room' began doing the rounds on social media. In this group, girls were accused of objectifying men, although the content of the group did not involve planning rape like it did in the 'bois locker room' group. Consequently, netizens began questioning why boys are always blamed when girls are involved in similar activities.
His d*ick, his back, if a boy doesn't respond to your hot pics, think he's a gay, I wanted to f*ck him the moment he started walking. I wanna lick him. I want him for dinner tomorrow. Yum.— Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) May 5, 2020
Now here's the #GirlsLockerRoom chats
Sexualization? Assault? Objectification?
The truth is, any gender objectifying the other gender is derogatory. This is not a question of girls versus boys and who did it worse. This is not a question of 'why are men always blamed when women do the same thing'.
What needs to be questioned is the mindset that objectifies people, abuses them and propagates sexual violence against them.
Minor Girls Posting Photos Of Themselves On Social Media Are Inviting Trouble
We have the freedom to post what we want to on social media, as long as it is not offensive or disparaging. The girls, irrespective of whether they are minors or not, can post photos of themselves in clothes of their choice, regardless of society's take on what's the 'appropriate' way for a girl to dress.
Posting pictures on social media does not entitle men to misuse them. The men, and not the women, are to be questioned here.
Moral policing is unacceptable. The age-old habit of people questioning women for dressing up how they do, partying at night and consuming alcohol needs to stop.
Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, in a recent tweet, suggested that women buying liquor should not complain about domestic violence, which is on the rise amid the lockdown.
"Look who's in line at the wine shops ..So much for protecting women against drunk men," Verma wrote, drawing a lot of criticism, including from singer Sona Mahapatra, who wrote, "Dear Mr RGV,time for u to get into the line of people who desperately need a real education.1 that lets u understand why this tweet of yours reeks of sexism & misplaced morality. Women have a right to buy & consume alcohol just like men. No one has a right to be drunk & violent."
Look who's in line at the wine shops ..So much for protecting women against drunk men 🙄 pic.twitter.com/ThFLd5vpzd— Ram Gopal Varma (@RGVzoomin) May 4, 2020
Dear Mr RGV,time for u to get into the line of people who desperately need a real education.1 that lets u understand why this tweet of yours reeks of sexism & misplaced morality.Women have a right to buy & consume alcohol just like men. No one has a right to be drunk & violent. https://t.co/5AUcTrAJrZ— ShutUpSona (@sonamohapatra) May 4, 2020
Therefore, just like 'drunk' men have no right to perpetrate violence on women who consume liquor, they are not empowered to morph and misuse images of women/girls available on social media.
But Those Involved In 'Bois Locker Room' Incident Are Just Kids!
'Bois locker room' is a reflection of a much larger societal problem. The accused in this case are teenagers and not hardened criminals, although there is no doubt that they knew what they were doing.
But these are kids growing up in a society that has normalised male predatory behaviour for years. Rampant sexism in schools is ignored. In everyday conversations, sexist remarks are treated casually, or just dismissed. Cinema and media glorify toxic masculinity.
As children grow up, all of this is imbibed in them.
While these boys will have to inevitably face the consequences of their actions, what we really need to focus on is challenging the culture that fosters male entitlement. At home and in schools, casual sexism needs to be called out and questioned.
Communication between parents and children, teachers and students, on topics as sensitive as these, should be initiated and must be taken up with dignity.
Adopting a no-tolerance policy, even a schoolboy passing an inappropriate comment about his female classmate should be questioned, educated and sensitized.
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