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Sunday 31 May 2020

Bois Locker Room: Behind Bars Or Bail?

It would be a serious miscarriage of justice to see the boys of the Bois Locker Room escape extreme punishment for deeds done or being planned

Paavani Sinha
Paavani Sinha
Editorial consultant, सिर्फ़ NEWS, commentator on social issues

An innocuous name for an Instagram group: Bois Locker Room. One that would at most conjure up images of ribbing, fraternising and harmless flirtatious banter of recent crushes by members who are more brothers than friends. But this image is sepia-tinted because it harks back to a time when India was quieter, more traditional and ‘cleaner’ in more ways than one. The truth of today is worse than our worst nightmares. Of a vulgar, obscene, immoral, unlawful group of young boys owning a precociousness that till not far back was not part of our upbringing. Talk amongst them that revolves only and only around objectifying girls (their schoolmates and even other college students), sexualising their personalities and eventually discussing gang-raping them knowing full well the consequences. The casual manner in which this is bandied about is more alarming than ever.

Who does one blame for the Bois Locker Room crime? Parents, teachers, society, peer pressure, uncensored availability of social media or simply the child? Who should not be classified as that — he or she is no longer a child. They are criminal adult minds. Simple.

Have these boys of ‘Bois’ not been taught right from wrong? Do they come from homes where women are considered little more than sex-objects? One sees mothers these days who are more than happy to let their young, child-like daughters behave in ways that would be more suitable for young women, right or wrong. It is as if the girls are being used to fulfil repressed desires of their mothers who were probably not allowed to be a certain way while growing up by their own parents. Sexualisation of such girls is not a personal choice of theirs, the parents are totally to blame for not being able to draw the line between what is obscene and what is acceptable.

Equally to blame are parents of young boys, who do not realise that notions of being macho and modern should be defined by maturity and age. That level of self-determination should be left to when they reach adulthood. Childhood and adolescence are the time to follow rules. Are the fathers proving to be the right role-models for these impressionable young boys? Are they individuals that can be looked up to for the right guidance? Unfortunately no. Parents these days seem more concerned with being seen as westernised and in tune with what’s considered ‘cool’, more out of fright of losing favour with said children. It begs the question- who is the parent and who the child?

Sex education should begin from home, parents should have balanced, open conversations with their children. It absolutely must not be learnt from information that has been gleaned from questionable websites.

It is said that personalities develop by the time you are eighteen to nineteen. This Bois kind of an act at this young age indicates that there may develop an antisocial personality disorder in these boys at a later stage in life. Also, they seem classic cases of patients of paraphilic disorders.

Sexual drive and aggression are controlled by the same part of the brain. Addicted to porn, these boys are obviously unable to distinguish between the two. The thin line separating one from the other in our behaviour is a value system that should be and is taught at home. Did the parents lack giving them this intrinsic orientation?

Isn’t it time to question these parents who have at some point failed to monitor their offspring and are equally to blame for this terrible situation? What makes it worse is news that they are now rallying around to protect these boys by justifying their actions. What kind of society is this where parents fight to prevent their sons from being punished and take responsibility for their actions? Especially these types which are so despicably deviant in nature?

This is where the law of the land should intervene, be more strict and stringent in order to evolve a better society. Which unfortunately it has failed to do. The unspeakable cruelty of the supposed ‘juvenile’ in the Nirbhaya case comes back to haunt us at a time like this. What parameter — legal or otherwise — classified that beast as underage and allowed him to go scot-free rather than hang to death like the others, still escapes reason.

World civilisation flourishes primarily because of laws enforced, or else we would all be living in the jungles. And in today’s world of global connect and availability of informative media, children are adults well on the eve of their teens. They are aware that no matter what the crime committed, they will be let off lightly under the Juvenile Act. That farcical change of reducing the age from 18 years to the period of ‘16 to 18’ on 7 May 2015 is hardly a deterrent.

The ideal age would be an individual who has reached the age of thirteen. The minute threat perception takes hold that we will be penalised as adults after that age, fear will take precedence over criminal thought and act. Even parents secure in the thought that their kids are still children and will be treated as such, will now sit up and be more vigilant. If you live in a democratic country and want to enjoy the benefits of the same, you should be ready to face the fall-outs of an equal justice system too. Punishment of a heinous crime should be the same for everyone. Why should the law be different for a boy of fifteen who Instagrams pictures of young girls and then threatens to rape them with every intention to enjoy the act through, be any different than for a boy above eighteen? Are they not mentally and medically at par with the adult in such cases?

It would be a serious miscarriage of justice yet again to see these boys of Bois escape extreme punishment for deeds done or being planned. They need to be tried as adults and face the same charges and repercussions so that it serves as an example for others who intend to take inspiration for more such.

The victims need closure.

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