With the execution of the men convicted in the Nirbhaya case after a long wait, a sense of hope came. It became the marker of justice for some. With the hanging, it was thought that maybe now things will change, people will change, their psyche will change and now society will be a safe and secure environment. But all these assumptions and positivity were nothing but a myth.
A group on Instagram named ‘Bois locker room’ has shattered all our hopes and assumptions after the screenshots of this group went viral on Instagram and Twitter. From screenshots, it was clear that the group comprises of a bunch of 15-16 years old kids, whose aim was to degrade women in every possible way. They talked about women, their bodies, edited their pictures, made obscene statements and so on. A number of conversations in screenshots showed members talking about sexual assault. All of this made everyone, especially girls and women, numb. It raised questions about the normalisation of rape, misogyny and objectification.
It is heartbreaking to see kids of this age talking about these things. Do they really know and understand the meaning of rape, of sexual assault, of sexual violence? For them, everything is fun, for them life is all about having fun whether it comes from a comedy movie or by demeaning and objectifying women and their body.
Our society has always blamed women for everything that happens to them, either by finding problems in their dress or in their attitude. But one thing that our society never does is ‘to teach men how to respect women’. Everything they say is taken as jokes. Jokes which then become WhatsApp and Facebook forwards, making every misogynistic thing normal. Be it harassment on roads, harassment in schools, harassment in the workplace, women are asked to remain silent instead of taking action against the accused. All of this is done in the guise of ‘BOYS WILL BE BOYS’. These four words seem too simple to say but they are the reason for the survival of misogyny and objectification in our society and in our mind.
Women’s bodies have always been used as a tool. Whether it is about taking revenge from her family, or to show domination on her, or to hurt her dignity when she rejects a proposal.
Despite having articles in our Constitution under fundamental rights, fundamental duties, under Indian Penal Code ensuring safety and life with dignity, their applicability in real life is still a dream. Article 14,15, 21 and many are there. Sections 292, 293 and 294 of IPC have been enacted with the ulterior motive to protect and safeguard the public moral by making the sale, etc., of obscene literature and publications in general, and to young persons in particular, a cognizable offence. But is just the existence of them in the Constitution is enough?
The real question that arises is – who to blame? Boys, who create such groups like ‘Bois locker room’ to have fun or the constitution and law full of ambiguity, or victim-blaming, or the educational institutions where these things are normalised, or the prevailing misogyny and patriarchy in our society? But then no one can be blamed individually; all of them are equal participants in the process of demeaning women. And, groups like ‘Bois locker room’ are just the starting point of this process.