Online harassment and cyber bullying seems to be a major threat to women of present era. The recent boy’s locker room case in New Delhi has opened a Pandora’s Box on the question of cyber bullying. The major question which arises now is that earlier we used to say the environment is not safe for the woman outside these days, women should not go out at night , women shouldn’t wear short clothes but now the question arises is that Are women safe in virtual world of social media ? Are women safe inside their homes? The answer to these questions is a complete No. This rape culture and objectification of women is getting so prevalent in the society that it has normalized within the mindset of women that they seem to accept this mentality as such cases of rape culture are coming in limelight almost every day.
Cyber Bullying – Threat to Mental Health
Cyber bullying and harassment is becoming much popular these days. One can rightly say that cyber bullying is one of the major problems that lead to mental health issues of India’s population. In fact, bullying has been seen very common problem for kids from a long time i.e. before the times of internet. But in this modern era with the help of new platforms this is becoming much easier and people are much nastier than before. For instance, it is easier to say anything to someone on Facebook then in person. The effect of this is also magnifies as a lot of people can see the act and react to it. Women always tend to take a stand for herself, fight for her dignity but it’s been years that the woman haven’t received anything for that matter. Each time a girl or a woman when takes a stand for herself there is a constant fear in her mind of being threatened, of being a victim and what not.
Exposure of Bois Locker Room
The incident of boy’s locker room revolves around a group of youngsters and teenage boys who made a group for chatting on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. And on this chat group they used to share pictures of underage girls and passes vulgar comments on their body and also planned to gang rape those girls. The exposure to this group was done when a South Delhi girl shared screenshots of the chat group on Twitter – A social media platform. This incident has taken a high amount of coverage on internet as many of the teenagers have identified the perpetrators as they are classmates and acquaintances. Many users demanded a police action against the boys who passed offensive and vulgar comments. Many stories on Instagram were also seen circulating around the internet about this incident. After the reveal of this event there maybe hundreds of women who may quit social media or remove their pictures from social media platforms because of the fear that they might be the next in queue.
Bois Locker Room in context with Indian Laws
The Delhi Police have reportedly registered a case under provisions of the “Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act)”, and the “Indian Penal Code (IPC)”. In addition to these, the sharing of images of underage girls could also be a violation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 (POCSO Act). In Indian Criminal Law, anyone who comes to know of a cognizable offence can file a FIR in police station. Also, the police themselves can register an FIR for a case dealing with a cognizable offence, once they come to know about it. In this present case, the information regarding the ‘Bois Locker Room’ group had become public knowledge, and so the cyber cell decided to investigate.
Potential offences committed in Chat Group and Punishment for it
- SECTION 66E, IT ACT – VIOLATION OF PRIVACY
- SECTION 67A, IT ACT – TRANSMITTING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL
- SECTION 67B, IT ACT – TRANSMITTING SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL DEPICTING A CHILD
- SECTION 354C, IPC – VOYEURISM
- SECTION 354D, IPC – STALKING
- SECTIONS 14 & 15, POCSO ACT – CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
The boys who are under 18 whom the police decide to book, will not be tried before the criminal courts, but will instead be taken before the Juvenile Justice Boards. The maximum punishment by a JJB for a juvenile is 3 years imprisonment. On the other side, revealing the identities of any boys on this group who are under the age of 18 is forbidden under the law. Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 prohibits the identification of even children who have committed an offence, so media houses or private persons who are discussing this issue online need to be careful that they don’t put out names or photos of any of the boys unless they are over 18.
This is one of the most shameful and regretful incident of cyber crime as both the victims as well as assailant are under aged. Well it is not about to give punishment or to take a strict action against those people who are engaged in such kind of activities. It is totally and completely about promoting rape culture mindset which has been rooted in the minds of underage boys, which can be a threat to the society in a near future. It’s about being able to make a change in society and a mindset of rape culture which we have been failing to change for many years. It’s about taking a stand for woman for the same cause. It is about the boys who are freely planning to gang rape of a girl and their audacity to pass vulgar comments on females with no regrets.
Author: Shubham Sharma,
Delhi Metropolitan Education, I.P. University, 2nd Yr.