A recent controversy arising out of a boys chat room titled #BoisLockerRoom on Instagram and a fake #MeToo complaint on social media following that has seen a Gurgaon boy committing suicide. The boy named Manav Singh was a Class XII student of a posh Gurgaon school and following the BoisLockerRoom controversy, a girl alleged on social media that Manav had raped her two years ago. Even though the details of the boy (the accused) is available to us, the details of the girl are not yet available or being suppressed as usual.
The flow of events was like this. In a closed chat room on Instagram named #BoysLockerRoom, some boys of around 13-15 years were allegedly discussing vulgar things about some girls. Allegedly they were discussing girls’ bodily features and how those boys wanted to rape them. Someone made those chats public. The veracity of those screenshots were not checked but the social media was quick to conclude that the boys were indeed discussing raping some minor girls.
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Delhi police was quick to act on the alleged crime and the Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) was quick to lodge a formal police complaint and the DCW chief Swati Maliwal tweeted to Delhi police for taking stern action against the boys. The case was so aggravated that some groups also demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter as the “boys belonged to influential families”. Delhi police was very quick to act on this and after their investigation have found that the alleged gangrape chat messages was sent by a girl, who created a fake profile with the name of a boy and was planning her own gangrape.
I had serious doubt about the veracity of those screenshots and later I have seen some girls posting some of those screenshots, apologizing in public for posting fake screenshots.
Now we need to understand that the boys themselves were minor and it is obvious that they would discuss minor girls only. Teenage is such an age when we get curious about the other gender and after the chat messages of #BoysLockerRoom and #GirlsLockerRoom were revealed, we have seen both were discussing and objectifying the other gender. However, people raised objection only to the boys chat messages. But almost none found any problem with the chat messages from #GirlsLockerRoom which were also discussing sexually explicit content not only about other boys, but also about other girls. If boys did objectification of the girls, girls did the same too. These discussions of girls showed extreme gender hatred, gay shaming, body shaming and many other issues that the liberals have observed in the unconfirmed chat messages of #BoysLockerRoom.
However, the feminists and online social media judges responded that the #GirlsLockerRoom chat messages were fake. People who are in continuous denial about crimes committed by girls and women continued to disregard all evidences presented to them. While NCW took prompt action against the underage boys, they were hesitant in taking action against the girls and after some constant push by the netizens, the Delhi Women’s Commission (DCW) Chief Swati Maliwal tweeted against #GirlsLockerRoom chats as well. But that was only a tweet and no formal complaint with the police.
Since the #BoysLockerRoom became viral, many girls started taking the limelight by playing the victim card and started randomly accusing boys of misconduct. A girl complained that Manav has raped her two years ago, without any evidence. But that social media complaint was taken seriously by her friends and they started threatening the boy. The Class XII boy suddenly found him alone in the mess as he didn’t have anywhere to go and he felt no one would listen to him. Even worse was he thought no one would believe him. Many of us who had got false matrimonial cases, found ourselves in the same situation somewhere in our lives.
This is a serious problem for this society especially in the post #MeToo era. Girls and women randomly start accusing other random boys and men without any evidence and people also start believing them simply based on some social media rants. While the men’s side of the story continues to go unheard, baseless complaints from women get unnecessary highlight as we have seen in #BoisLockerRoom controversy. We have also seen laws being changed based on these fake stories. Even though we had many such pathetic cases of men committing suicide on #MeToo complaints earlier, the society seems to be unrelenting.
But in all probability this phenomenon of accusing men online is not new. In an old case about 7/8 years ago another young college student came to me with a similar problem. I have already written about that story here. Because that guy came to me for help in time, he was not only saved but also could turn the table on the fraud girl.
When that guy first came to me, he was very scared, he could have committed suicide too. He was a studious guy who used to fare well in his studies and he only wanted a girlfriend for dating. So, he registered on a dating site and soon started getting threats of fake molestation and human trafficking charges, whereas the girl introduced herself as a ‘slut’.
You can read that story in detail here. The point that girls and boys do talk about sex very much in today’s India is proven. If you happen to be in any such boys or girls group or even in a group where both genders mingle freely, you will know what I mean. They openly discuss sex, ask girls for sex or even gangbang. So, I am not surprised if either boys or girls were actually discussing sex, or gangbang in their closed groups. When the media content that our teenagers are constantly absorbing today are vulgar, full of nudity and sexuality, how can we expect the teens not to pick up that language? It is the fault of this society that promotes porn artists and soft porn and vulgar language in every possible way.
A couple of days after the suicide of Manav Singh, his brother posted on Instagram the full story of Manav’s death. He claimed that the girl just posted a fake story of being raped 2 years ago when Manav was just 15. There was no evidence she could provide. But immediately after her story, that went viral and she and her friends started giving threats to Manav. He strongly felt that his side of story was not being heard as he was constantly being abused by people around and they started judging him. So, he committed suicide.
After Manav committed suicide, the girl posted another story that if Manav could not withstand her allegations then it was his fault and he was being weak hearted. Another convenient victim blaming.
Having undergone this kind of false allegations in our matrimonial lives, many of us know what it feels when falsely accused. Even grown up matured men commit suicide from these threats. Manav was still a teenager.
This incident showed how dangerous is social media today. While there is a need of every parent to constantly monitor their children’s activities on social media, it’s also important that our boys get a safety net from their parents. They feel comfortable sharing their stories or problems with their parents and get possible recourse.
Even though Manav’s story (as claimed by his brother) was not related to #BoisLockerRoom, more outrage was created as it coincides with that event. Now that we know that even #BoysLockerRoom was a scam, we need to question the authority of Delhi Commission of Women (DCW), their expertise to handle such sensitive matters and also inactivity of the Children’s ministry. Many have connected the two and even before police could find any genuine proof from Instagram, people started judging Manav as culprit. This is the reason every man has to face today.
When I was getting divorced, my own friends didn’t believe me. The families who were very close to me and who used to party together with us, almost instantly abandoned me when I told them about my filing divorce due to her cruelty. It is a sad reality that there was a time even I didn’t know where to go and felt completely alone in this world. It was my luck that some MRAs have helped me. They not only listened to me patiently for hours, but they have also made me so strong that I can provide help to others like Manav.
It is indeed a pain that Manav didn’t find the resources we MRAs have created or could not find any other MRAs to seek help. Even though we MRAs exist in the online world, the activism has come almost to a standstill in recent years. We are not easily identified today, as we were in 2012-15. Even though we have created enough online forums for men and boys, but still we are not reaching out to the people in their time of need.
I have asked the first boy to file criminal complaint about the girl but he didn’t agree. He was more than fine that he got an apology and the matter which seemed like a death threat to him, was resolved so easily. He was also happy that his ‘good boy’ image was not affected and his parents didn’t come to know that he had registered on a dating site. In Manav’s case too, I have asked his family to file criminal complaints not only against Swati Maliwal, the Delhi Commission for Women’s Chief, but also against all those minors who had threatened Manav. I am not sure if they will do that.
I find that men are not ready to take that extra step of filing appropriate (and sometimes more) cases against women and their sympathizers. Probably they want to be happy with their lives and want to focus on their career and money. But unless that happens, I don’t think such cases will come down.
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How we exposed the lie against Manav
I can only hope that in future men and boys who undergo threats of such false cases, do find us, the MRAs, in time and before committing suicide they discuss their problems with us.