This whole incident surfaced when Instagram user Niska Nagpal leaked chats from the group including obscene image of girls.
Delhi Commission for Women took the cognizance of the event and sent a notice to both the police and Instagram demanding an investigation.
The entire country was taken by shock because of not only the obscene content but also because of concern of the age group of these boys who were from prominent Delhi schools. A similar incident happened recently where the group of 13 & 14 years olds from Mumbai were suspended from a prestigious IB school for discussing sexual violence against a classmate on WhatsApp. The chat transcripts ran over hundreds of pages where girls were treated as ‘trash’ and mention of gangbang, rape too common.
The panicked parents have told their girls to stay away from Instagram. The concern of parents about the safety of their child is understandable but we need to work out the right solutions which do not curtail the freedom of expression of the youngsters. We do not stop driving in traffic when an accident on the road happens, do we?
Rape Culture in India is not new. There are some men who objectify women and see sexual aggression as a sign of manliness. Female voices of dissent are silenced by sexual taunts. Men target women on social media platforms with threats of gang rape, slut shaming and slaying character as some have pointed out. We live in a country where the females are groomed to be ‘cautious’ and ‘fearful’.
According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau there are four cases of rape reported every hour. A prominent political leader of a governing party in context of death penalty for rape stated “Boys will be boys. They make mistakes.” Even advertisements portray this saying ‘Men will be Men'.
We are not only fighting the pandemic of corona but also the global pandemic of violation of human rights of females (violence against females).
We for sure need an attitudinal shift to address this multi-faceted challenge as a parent, educator and society.
School health programme under the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme was flagged in 2018 which was inclusive of sex education, however, till February 2020, the Centre was still rolling out plans for its execution. We need to extensively work together and empower our children rather than playing the blame game. We should encourage children to question the prevailing mindset or social norms which discriminate against any culture, creed, caste, gender, economic background or religion. The onus lies on us as a society to groom our youth for a better tomorrow/future.
There are some lessons for all of us to learn from this incident:-
- We need to run mental health programs in schools teaching compassion, kindness, empathy, sexuality and healthy relationships.
- We need to teach our children gender equality rather than stereotyping.
- We should satisfy the curiosity of child towards ‘sex’ in an age appropriate way.
- We as parents need to provide our children a safe space to talk about sex without any shame or disrespect.
- We need to be aware about the internet behaviour of our children.
- We need to teach our children the meaning of consent - No Means No - rather than instilling fear in girls.
- Be the role models rather than doing helicopter parenting or providing every damn thing to the child.
Sex in Indian households is still a taboo word. We all are still uncomfortable when it comes to giving ‘Sex’ education to our children. Children who feel lonely, isolated or bullied often turn to internet and often end up with information which is incorrect and misleading.
Do intuitive parenting and seek help from an expert for your troubled teenager rather than waiting till the child hits the rock bottom.