Gurgaon Teen Suicide: Why Parents Must Talk to Their Children About Sex

Social Commentary

Gurgaon Teen Suicide: Why Parents Must Talk to Their Children About Sex

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

It’s been a few days since the “boys locker room” chats were made public, leaving social media seething. In its wake, a renewed wave of #MeToo posts followed, highlighting once again the trauma every woman faces, at least once in their lives.

On Monday night, after apparently being called out by one of these posts, a teenager jumped to his death from a Gurgaon high-rise.

The 17-year-old left no suicide note, but two screenshots, from a now-deleted post, were found on social media. In them, a girl says that she was molested two years ago in the basement of her building. The last messages found on the boy’s phone, according to reports, were from friends warning him that the police would be on the lookout for him.

His parents later said he was “harassed” and couldn’t “handle the pressure”.

A few days ago, meanwhile, a series of Instagram posts revealed that a group of teenage boys, aged 17 to 18, regularly made derogatory remarks, and body-shamed minor girls they knew, in a group chat named “Bois Locker Room”.

Most of the boys, whose personal handles were revealed on Instagram, went to reputed schools in south Delhi. They also didn’t appear to show any remorse for their actions, as one of the girls who released the chats indicated.

Hours after the 17-year-old jumped to his death in Gurgaon, several links were made between the two incidents online. But these links have been dismissed by the police.

Instead, the two cases are highlighting, now more than ever, the need for increased sensitisation among teenagers, to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.

As a behavioural health researcher points out on Twitter, rather than stigmatising minors for their behaviour, it’s important to “talk to them about their stressors, struggles, relationships… build a relationship with them”.

The incident has also sparked a renewed debate on “call-out culture”, which raged since the first few #MeToo posts made headlines back in 2017. While naming and shaming has had its own impact, many have argued that long-term solutions, like better quality of sex education, and therapy, is the only way to rehabilitate young offenders. As well as go a long way to prevent both future locker room chats and incidents like the Gurgaon suicide.

It’s no surprise at this point that India is not a safe country for women, and that our young minds are very impressionable. So if there’s a another takeaway parents should have from these incidents, it’s that they need to talk to their children about sex.