Police in India arrested 29 men on Thursday in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl, which occurred repeatedly over a period of almost eight months.
And last month, a 9-year-old girl was gang-raped and murdered in the capital of Delhi. Four men, including a Hindu priest, have been charged with involvement in her death.
Since the 2012 protests, when millions of women called for stronger laws and protections for women, the government has introduced new legislation and tougher penalties. But, activists say, the problem persists, fueled by difficulties in reporting, poor enforcement by authorities, deeply rooted gender inequality and caste discrimination.
Reported rapes have increased over the years, potentially because of a greater awareness surrounding the issue.
More than 32,000 were recorded in 2019, up from 25,000 in 2012. But many rapes go unreported, meaning the real number may be much higher.
The recent string of rapes in Mumbai has prompted police to announce new measures. Police will install women’s safety cells in every police station in the city, and deploy patrolling vehicles in hotspots for crimes against women, police announced on September 14.
Other measures will include creating a sexual offenders’ list dating back five years, and requiring officers to undergo training in dealing with sexual assault victims, complete with an exam before they join the force.