Bois Locker Room: A Girl Might Have Spoken of Rape. But the Group Chats Were Still Toxic

Gender

Bois Locker Room: A Girl Might Have Spoken of Rape. But the Group Chats Were Still Toxic

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

The “Bois Locker Room” controversy that marred the first week of May went viral due to a series of explicit screenshots being shared on social media, where a group of male school students were caught lewdly discussing the girls in their class. The “Bois Locker Room” was a group chat on Instagram, but along with the screenshots from Instagram, there were also screenshots from a Snapchat conversation that were being shared in the same clutch of images. Those Snapchat screenshots were separate from the ones of the “Bois Locker Room” group chat, but were unfortunately conflated with the same case by many media outlets and people sharing the news on social media. Now, the Delhi Police have confirmed that the Snapchat and “Bois Locker Room” chats were separate cases, along with a new development regarding the veracity of the already dubious Snapchat screenshots.

The “twist” referred to in the above tweet is that in the Snapchat screenshots, which discussed rape, the sender was not a real person. In fact, the sender was the girl in question herself, sending messages from a fake profile to test a male friend’s character. “Using the fake identity of a male person, she suggested in the chat a plan for sexual assault, naming herself,” Anyesh Roy, a senior Delhi police officer attached to the investigation, told NDTV. “When the Bois Locker Room Instagram screenshots were revealed to others and started circulating on social media, the alleged Snapchat conversation also got mixed with it due to its sensational nature and due to its availability in different student groups.”

This girl, who posed as Siddhart, and the boy she was messaging were not connected to the Instagram group chat. However, these screenshots were lumped with the “Bois Locker Room” chats, and many who only saw the screenshots without reading up on the story thought the two were from the same group of boys. And now that the sender of the Snapchat screenshots has been revealed to be a girl, many are being led to believe that even the messages from “Bois Locker Room” were fakes.

There have been some very eager to brush the reprehensible behaviour of the boys involved in the “Bois Locker Room” chat under the carpet by pointing out the failings of others. Last week, it was the unearthing of a similarly toxic “Girls Locker Room” – not an actual group chat like the boys had, but a series of screenshots exposing the girls involved in outing the “Bois Locker Room” as having engaged in equally disgusting online bullying. This week, it’s the news that the Snapchat screenshots were faked that are being used by so-called men’s rights activists to absolve the behaviour of the “Bois Locker Room”.

To use this news as a shield for the reprehensible conduct in the “Bois Locker Room” group chat, where they shared obscene pictures of girls and made misogynistic comments, is disingenuous. Even as far back as May 5, accounts that were calling out the toxicity of the Instagram screenshots were clarifying that there were doubts about some of the accompanying screenshots, presumably the Snapchat ones.

No matter how much certain people would like to forget that the “Bois Locker Room” incident occurred, those screenshots are genuine. The fact that the Delhi Police arrested the admin of the group, a Class 12 student over the age of 18, and have also questioned 24 other members of the group points to this. The development about the sender of the Snapchat messages being a girl is shocking, but this entire case is a reminder that two wrongs don’t make a right.

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