New Delhi: By now everyone might be aware of a disgusting chat group wherein teenage boys share photos of underage girls, objectify them, and plan ‘gang rapes’. This chat group named– ‘Bois Locker Room’ consists of teenage boys aged between 15-18 years, from South Delhi who engage in such conversations, and make explicit comments about their bodies. Also Read - 'Boys Locker Room': Delhi Teens Casually Discussing Gangraping Girls Depicts All That's Wrong With Our Society

Though I was sick to my core to read disturbing details, it doesn’t really come as a shock, given the twisted times we live in. However, what bothers me is that how these young boys were able to so without any fear or consequences.

Though many of these boys have been taken into custody, we wonder how more such groups exist on social media because women are so terrified of reporting them because of the fear as to what will happen if they take a stand –rape threats, abuses, violence, character assassination, body shaming, slut shaming you name it!

The incident sheds light on the ‘Rape culture’

Rape culture defines a social culture in which rape is normalized, particularly due to male sexual aggression, victim-blaming, and gender inequality. The reason why India is one of the most unsafe countries for women is because our society normalizes such behaviour while making ‘victims’ out of women.

Rape culture in India is so pervasive that even boys as young as these have no qualms in uttering trash about female  bodies. Imagine, girls, as young as fourteen, were being abused, talked about, and stalked, with their pictures shared and leaked.

At the same time, it has put the onus on women to stay safe. This incident is just a small snippet of how men talk about women and how their entitlement to power, and superiority bestowed to them by society, has enabled them to so.

In addition, India’s rape culture benefits directly from the filthy misogynist songs of Bollywood which has had a long history of passing off violence and rape as ‘romance’. Bollywood movies are hell bent on selling the idea that women are meant for providing pleasure to men, and nothing more!

The danger of ‘Boys will be boys’ narrative

While women are lectured from an early age on to keep the ‘ghar ki izzat’ intact, boys are given free passes in the name of ‘boys will be boys’. From the very start, our society has conveniently acted as men’s PR agent, coddling them, overlooking their flaws and defending them at every step.

That archaic adage has long been used as the perfect excuse for toxic masculinity and behaviour that stems from it.

While boys are treated with a disturbing lack of accountability for their actions. women are expected to constantly be responsible for what happens to them. Also why is this term shoved in our faces every time when boys are being outright creepy and disrespectful to women? Is that what being a boy means?

Even after this incident, society won’t admonish boys but instead will tell girls not to put their pictures on social media because we simply don’t have the stomach to address the real issue here.

The onus is on parents who have to role reverse their upbringing, instill strength in their daughters while teaching their boys to inherit basic decency and humanity.

Exposes failure of our education system

This incident simply exposes all that’s problematic with our education system that is so divested in imparting bookish knowledge that ethics and morals take a backseat. Mind you, all these boys studied in the best schools of Delhi and hail from elite families, so bookish knowledge is not the issue here.

Unless issues like patriarchy, rape culture, toxic masculinity is addressed, these things will continue to happen. More so, issues like gender sensitivity and sex education, remain hardly touched upon topics in school, which prompt kids to draw information from unverified and wrong sources.

I precisely remember that Biology lecture in Class 9 when a basic chapter on reproductive system was casually brushed aside. Repress a hormonal teenager’s curiosity and be ready to deal with its devastating outbursts which presents itself in these horrendous incidents.

Many might argue that talking openly about these ‘taboo’ topics is not in our Indian culture. But, tell me this, is talking trash about women’s bodies, a part of Indian culture? Why to pretend that we worship women when we reduce them to mere bodies? Why pedestalize them in the first place when we humiliate and mutilate them?

Men of this society need to speak up

Let’s not kid ourselves, misogyny is deeply ingrained in our culture for we will cry and shout but our voices won’t reach society’s ears. If we raise our voices, we will be mocked and branded as ‘dirty feminists  who can’t take a joke!

So, now the onus is on men to stop their ‘bros’, because honestly women have tried enough.

As a man if you still don’t stop other men in participating in such vile discussion about women, you are a part of the larger problem. You need to hold them responsible for spewing misogynistic garbage and try to educate them, without worrying that you will be ridiculed.

A sick joke about women is a ‘red flag’, not some harmless banter and it needs to be addressed immediately. Because these boys have the full potential to be rapists and raising hue and cry tomorrow will mean nothing.

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article)