Personal Women Empowerment
Why Indian Men Rape is a multimedia gender journalism & activism project with two books, a documentary & online presence
raised of 10,00,000 goal
days to go
WHAT IS WHY INDIAN MEN RAPE?
Why Indian Men Rape is a multimedia gender journalism and activism project that spans two books, a documentary and an active online presence, over several years. With it, my research team and I would like to thoroughly explore the gamut of unique ethnological reasons—social, cultural, traditional, legal, economic, geographic, religious, psychological, etc—that cause sexual violence in the subcontinent.
Fundamentally, we expect that a better understanding of the subject of sexual violence and rape in India will lead to solutions and catalyse vital societal change. Our endeavour is to revolutionise the gender dynamic and improve the lives of women in India, which will have a ripple effect throughout the world.
Sexual violence, or the threat of it, is the basis of patriarchy. It defines and determines gender roles, relations and dynamics. It’s what keeps women, their sexuality and their agency in check. Fear, and patriarchal morals of ‘honour’ and ‘shame’ force well-intentioned parents to impose curfews and hemlines; and women spend an inordinate amount of time preoccupied with safety—within and outside their homes. On the whole, patriarchy and the fear of rape keep women of all strata away from fulfilling and adventurous lives, demanding careers, equality, and freedom.
It’s time to take onus away from the women, and place it squarely where it belongs… with the perpetrators and causes of gender violence. And in order to solve a problem—of toxic masculinity and sexual violence, in this case—it is important to understand it first.
WHY 'INDIAN' MEN?
Not for a moment are we suggesting that all Indian men rape, or that only Indian men rape, or that Indian men rape more or less than others, or even that only men rape. But, some Indian men are, undoubtedly, perpetrators of sexual violence of varying degrees and contributors to the rape pandemic in the country. It is the motives of these men, and the ethnographic paradigms that allow them to thrive, that we are seeking to uncover.
There are many Indias: we use the term ‘Indian’ as a collective identity more than a specifically national one, while being cognisant of its non-monolithic and non-homogenous character. If one agrees that societal paradigms are different across the world, and that emotions and actions are culturally situated, it stands to reason, then, that ‘rape culture’, as it applies to India, is different from the way it applies elsewhere in the world. While referencing global knowledge of masculinity and rape, it is important to narrow the field and contextualise the subject in order to deeply investigate it in a nuanced and relevant way.
We seek a critical analysis of the reasons as they apply to the Indian subcontinent—beyond the painfully absurd, like “chowmein”; beyond the blame of the woman and her clothes; and also beyond the staple “because they can”, “for sex” or “because, power”.
The project is initially intended to run from 2017 until 2019. The dream, of course, is to sustain the project beyond 2019, past the books and the documentary, into phase 2. Through forums, support groups and awareness programmes, we would like to have it remain as an enduring agent for social change and a leading light in the Indian sexual revolution.
Aside from studying hundreds of textual sources like books, articles, studies, theories and historical records, we are following several quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to understand and analyse Indian gender norms. We will conduct carefully designed surveys, studies and interviews of a weighted percentage of people across the country. We also have a long list of experts, survivors and perpetrators to interview, and case studies to peruse…. All this, before the phases of evaluation, synthesis and critical reflection, and even putting pen to paper!
This extensive research will contribute deep insights to the discourse on the sexual violence and rape in India—brought to the forefront since the infamous ‘Nirbhaya’ gang rape of 2012—as a step towards providing solutions to the problem.
WHAT DO WE NEED?
With all our ducks in a row and every last piece of the project plan in place, Why Indian Men Rape is ready to get set-go!
With your help, we will raise the funds to bring our phase 1 (2017-9) plans to fruition—hire our research agency; embark on our elaborate research and interview plans; write the books; make the documentary; and maintain active online engagement with the subject of gender violence.
We need to raise a minimum of Rs 60,00,000 ($93,000/€86,000) now to execute these plans. This Ketto campaign—and your contribution to it—is a step towards that goal.
We need your help.
HOW WILL THE FUNDS BE USED?
The initial cost of getting the project up and running in a basic but meaningful way over two years is Rs 60,00,000, approximated as follows:
In-house team, for 24 months: Rs 18,00,000 (@Rs 75,000 per month)
Quantitative research; including but not limited to agency and researchers, outstation travel and accommodation, etc: Rs 20,00,000
Technology and equipment; for data storage, video and audio recording, etc: Rs 3,00,000
Documentary; including but not limited to shooting, post production, crew, equipment, outstation travel and accommodation, etc: Rs 15,00,000
Miscellaneous; including but not limited to transcription and typing services, legal and financial services, data management, administration, etc: Rs 4,00,000
The initial sum will cover most of our basic expenses, but does not include marketing and publicity or office rent. While we expect some funds to come in through the sale of the books, speaking engagements, etc, revenues from royalties and such will cover only a small portion of the overall costs of this multimedia activism project.
Any excess funds raised will go towards our keeping this project afloat beyond 2019, towards the longer-term goal of remaining an enduring agent for social change and a leading light in the Indian sexual revolution.
We will get our finances audited by an independent audit firm to assure you that your contribution was utilised appropriately.
BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE
None of what we’re setting out to do would be possible without your generous support.
While we’ve set a modest goal for this Ketto campaign, we need to raise Rs 60,00,000 to sustain the project over the next couple of years through phase 1. In reality, we’d like to raise much more, to make a real difference to the gender dynamic in India and the world.
If you share our vision and if the objectives of this project resonate with you, please donate generously. Thank you, in advance.
ABOUT THE TEAM
I’m Tara* Kaushal, and I’m a writer and media consultant based in Mumbai, India.
As a writer, my passion for social equality and fair treatment of all people led me to explore gender, sexuality, equal rights and sociocultural issues. It’s what I’ve studied as well—topping my BA Honours in English with a specialisation in feminism from JMC, New Delhi, and completing a Master's in English from Mumbai University with a focus on gender and post-colonial literature. It was a great honour to be recognised for my incisive journalism and social commentary when I was awarded the Laadli Media Award for gender-sensitive writing in 2013-4.
Why Indian Men Rape is close to my heart (and, dare I say, important), and I’ve been working on it since 2013, but most actively since last year.
More about me on tarakaushal.com.
Why Indian Men Rape is fortunate to have the support of noted advisors, including:
• Jordyn Steig: Indophile anthropologist and educator
• Nita Gopal : Founder of the qualitative research firm, NG Works
• Abhimanyu Radhakrishnan: Journalist, media consultant and former VP, Times Internet
We’ve been in the news!
I also had an interesting interview in Hindi with IndiaMantra.com. I thought my Hindi was decent, but try saying ‘ethnographic’, ‘anthropological’ and ‘gender relations’ in it—my vocab fell so short! (My grandmother would be so disappointed—she was a Hindi teacher.)
Anyway, have a great day. Thank you for your support for what we’re doing.
I posted this on Facebook a couple of days ago, but figured it was something I needed to put here too, given that all of you have actually contributed to Why Indian Men Rape (and not all are on my Facebook).
An ironic thing has been happening with my team as we work on the project.
Obviously, we're dealing with the worst of humanity--inhumanity, actually--with the subject of our study and the (little) trolling. Enough to make cynics and depressives out of us. But no, the waves and waves of support and benediction coming our way far outweigh the evil we've encountered.
Friends, family and strangers alike, who've reached out with generous offers of time, effort, expertise and money. Men and women who are trusting us with their most intimate stories... Making us feel like we're actually part of a network of love.
If this project is throwing up the worst of humanity, it is also revealing the best of it. We knew of the feminist men and women around--we just didn't know how many felt this strongly. It's lovely to see the overt alignment with equal rights and the quest for a better world. If there's a troll army, there's also a counter, fighting the good fight.
So, far from making us cynics, we're in a state of amazement and joy, and deep inspiration.
Thank you, wonderful people, for being you.