The Cost of Speaking Up: The Girl Who Exposed “Bois Locker Room” Received Threats Even After Police Action


The Cost of Speaking Up: The Girl Who Exposed “Bois Locker Room” Received Threats Even After Police Action

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

In India, there is an undeniable problem with violence against women. This violence takes many forms – not only physical, but also verbal and virtual – and can be witnessed at every strata of society. Last month, an ugly episode brought to the fore how entrenched this culture is, as a group of teenage boys were outed as being members of an Instagram group called “Bois Locker Room”, wherein they were found to have been sharing photos of minor girls without consent, and making derogatory comments regarding their bodies and sexual activities. The story has now taken a new twist, when the Delhi Police filed a fresh FIR in relation to the case, after one of the girls who helped expose the group complained that she had been receiving threats over social media ever since her involvement.

After the girl approached the Delhi Police, the case was transferred to the Cyber Cell, as reported by The Indian Express. The report quotes a police officer attached to the case as saying, “We have registered an FIR based on the complaint from the girl. As per the complaint, she was threatened. She received obnoxious and offensive messages. The nature of content she received was threatening but primarily obnoxious in nature.”

The fact that the girl was targeted is upsetting, but not surprising. In India, many women who challenge the prevalent misogynistic culture find themselves on the receiving end of such attacks. It was seen during the 2018 wave of the Me Too movement, where women who came forward to accuse men of abusing their position over them attracted trolls and crude comments on social media. The current abhorrent takes being circulated about the pregnant student activist Safoora Zargar, in jail for protesting against the government’s Citizenship Amendment Act, show that even when the issue is unrelated to gender, there are men who are all too eager to attack a woman’s body. In the case of the Bois Locker Room controversy, despite there being action taken against the members of the group, including the group’s admin being arrested, the same behaviour persists.

It’s clear that Indian society’s problematic relation with gender is not going anywhere anytime soon.