More than a decade after she was gang-raped when she was 13, a woman in India has finally gotten justice, The Washington Post reports.
The last of the rapists, who maintains his innocence and plans to appeal, was convicted this spring after six separate trials and more than 36 court appearances. The prolonged case shows the legal challenges Indian women frequently face after reporting sexual assault.
According to a study from a Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, a rape occurs every 30 minutes in India, but very few rapists are successfully prosecuted. Out of the 706 rapes reported in Delhi in 2012, only one case ended in a conviction. The Post spoke to legal experts and activists who attributed the low conviction rate to police often being unwilling to help victim, poor examination practices in hospitals, a plugged-up legal system, and a culture that prevents many women from coming forward at all.
The woman whose case has been slowly moving through the justice system was on her way home from work as a maid in 2005 when she was kidnapped and raped by a group of men. Despite the obstacles she knew she’d face, she decided to fight her case in court. “I decided I had a single goal: Justice,” the woman told the Post.
The cases dragged on as the defendants’ attorneys regularly missed hearings, the bar association went on strike and the entire case went missing from the legal system. The first rapist was finally convicted in 2007, and two more were convicted in 2013.
“She is remarkable,” Madhu Garg, a women’s right activist who assisted with the woman’s case, told the Post. “The case dragged on for so long, but the strength of her character and her determination helped us win.”
Read the full story on The Washington Post.