"Unearthed: Stories of Courage in the Face of Sexual Violence" initiates a visual dialogue on rape and sexual assault in India.
In India, survivors of rape are often violated three times: once by the perpetrators of the crime, again when the police fail to take action on their behalf, and yet again, when they are shamed and shunned by their communities and families as unfit for marriage.
The issue of violence against women in India is finally beginning to receive the legal attention it deserves. Since the violent gang rape and murder of an Indian woman on a moving New Delhi bus in 2012, women and men across India are demanding justice for the country’s rape victims and shaming authorities into prosecuting perpetrators.
In late 2015, two teenage cousins were found hanging from a mango tree in Northern India. Outraged villagers surrounded the girls’ remains and refused to allow the police to remove the bodies until the perpetrators were apprehended. Five men, including two policemen, were eventually arrested for the rape, torture and death of the girls. In Bangalore, a 6-year old was raped at school. After the principal refused to take action, parents marched on the municipality. The child’s skating teacher was arrested and is awaiting trial. Like elsewhere in the world, Indian politicians respond when an angry crowd demands justice.
About the Exhibit
On December 16, 2015 in Delhi, India in commemoration of the third anniversary of the brutal rape and murder of Jyoti Singh (“Nirbhaya”), PROOF launched its newest exhibit, Unearthed: Stories of Courage in the Face of Sexual Violence.
Unearthed, a collaborative production with The Rape in India Project, is an expansion of PROOF's The Legacy of Rape exhibit which visually depicts stories of sexual violence from around the world. Unearthed aims to inspire positive change for women, initiate a visual dialogue on the prevalence and prevention of rape and sexual assault, and educate a new generation of Upstanders working to eliminate gender-based violence.
The exhibit, which incorporates the oral testimonies and photographs of survivors of sexual assault as well as their places of rape, is designed to raise public awareness of rape prevention and the need for laws that will lead to the swift, just, and humane prosecution of perpetrators. Unearthed encourages public introspection and asks us to question our choices, social attitudes, and structures, including access to and design of public spaces. The banality of the locations where rapes take place is often a horrifying aspect of these crimes. These are everyday locations, frequented by a multitude of people, and often assumed to be safe.
Unearthed captures the strength and resilience of the survivors who have bravely stepped forward to unveil the true legacy of violence against women, and includes the voices of Upstanders – those who have stood up against the injustice in their communities and spoken out.
Only when antiquated community attitudes are dispersed by information about the violence of rape will security for India’s women and children improve, and survivors receive the compassion and justice they need and deserve. PROOF’s rape project has raised awareness and inspired change in diverse places such as the Congo, Nepal, Bosnia, Colombia, and others. PROOF’s Unearthed: Stories of Courage in the Face of Sexual Violence aims to bring the voices of survivors to the public, change the attitudes of youth, and effect policy.
For more information, or to help support the Unearthed project, contact us at PROOF today.
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