Meet Tara Kaushal, a media consultant and writer by heart. She is raising funds for her campaign on online crowdfunding platform, . Her campaign has got the most controversial name – ‘Why Indian Men Rape. Of the one million rupees Tara is aiming to raise, 219,860 rupees has been raised from 37 supporters with another month to go.
Tara said of the project, " '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 on '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, Tara and her research team would like to thoroughly explore the gamut of unique ethnological reasons—social, cultural, traditional, legal, economic, geographic, religious and psychological—that cause sexual violence in the subcontinent.
Fundamentally, she expects 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.
Why research rape
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 research Indian men
Tara clarifies, “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.”