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We Have All Seen Many a 'Bois Locker Room' But Here's a Shocker: We Weren't Asking For It

We Have All Seen Many a 'Bois Locker Room' But Here's a Shocker: We Weren't Asking For It

'Bois locker room' may have shocked the Internet, but ask any woman, and they will tell you that it doesn't shock us.

I was 4 when a relative suggested we play a game. It wasn't a game. I wasn't asking for it.

I was 13 when my cousin and I were returning from school and a man in the public bus sat next to her. Throughout the journey, till we reached our stop, the man kept flashing my cousin and touching her. When we got back home, she spent the entire evening washing her hands till her skin peeled off. She wasn't asking for it.

I was 14 when I was sent an unsolicited dick pic the first time. I wasn't asking for it.

I was in college when an ex hacked into my mail, found a photograph that I had sent to my then-boyfriend, and threatened to make it public if I didn't end my relationship. I had an easy password, but I still wasn't asking for it.

On crowded streets, in public transport, at home, at friends' homes-- we were touched inappropriately, groped, followed around, masturbated at. In the online world, where we thought we are safe, they slut-shamed and threatened us and got away with all of that. And yet, we were not asking for it.

The private group on Instagram, 'Bois Locker Room', where a bunch of school-going boys from Delhi shared images of underage girls, discussed their bodies, cracked 'jokes' and planned a gang rape may have shocked the Internet (Thankfully so), but ask a woman, any woman, and they will tell you that it doesn't shock us.

This was a group of teenage boys but ask any woman and they will tell you that they have known of such locker-room conversations. Ask any man and they will tell you they have been a part of such groups at some point. Probably, they still are, but hey, at least they don't talk about raping women. #NotAllMen, right?

The now-defunct 'Bois Locker Room' was discovered when conversations from this particular group of boys surfaced on Sunday as several social media users posted screenshots on Instagram and Twitter. The conversations revolved around sexual assault often against their own classmates. The most frightening part in this is their casual tone---them normalising rape culture, misogyny and objectification. However, it's not surprising to any of us.

Remember when boys, some of them your friends, 'rated' women? And often their body parts? Remember when they wanted to crack a misogynist 'joke' but realised there's a female in company, and they stopped? Remember when, after a few times, they stopped caring and cracked that crass joke anyway? Remember when you became a part of all of this by not speaking up and simply trying to fit in?

I do.

In the first week of college, I became quite popular. I went to an all-girls Convent school and this was the first time I had friends that included boys. It felt like freedom. Another week later, no seat was saved for me and no one did my proxy during the attendance.

It took me a whole year to figure out what I had done 'wrong'. And this whole time, I kept trying to fit and in turn, became a part of the grand misogynistic culture.

My new college 'friends' had discovered I had a boyfriend-- who had shared a regular consensual boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with me before we broke up. It was supposed to be shameful, so shameful that I didn't deserve friends. I got a few nicknames-- the easiest one was, of course, slut. The group of these friends included girls too.

I wasn't asking for it.

Years later, when the ex who hacked into my account got in touch over Facebook, he didn't even apologise. When I asked him to, his response was, "But I was so young then".

But, I was young too. And scared, for years.

The Instagram group showed us that 'young' is not a defence. Young is when it begins. Young is when you also tend to get away with sexism, misogyny and rape threats.

Soon after the screenshots of chats from 'Bois Locker Room' went viral, there came a new set of screenshots of conversations between girls. And, the questions came: What about the girls? Why did they post revealing photos of themselves on Instagram? Why did they objectify men? Someone on Twitter even wrote 'It takes two to tango'. I wonder in which world tango is done forcefully. Where women, because they are wearing their dancing shoes, are dragged on the stage to participate in this 'tango' that they weren't asking for? I also forget that it is very much the world we live in.