One year since the brutal New Delhi gang rape, has change come to India?

BY Mona Iskander  December 15, 2013 at 6:08 PM EDT

Protest Against Rape
Indian protesters shout anti-government slogans during a protest against rape in New Delhi on January 2, 2013. Credit: RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the gruesome gang rape of an Indian woman on a bus in New Delhi. The 23-year-old medical student later died in a Singapore hospital.

The incident sparked massive protests around India and led to a national debate about women’s rights and safety. The men accused of carrying out the crime were put on trial and this past September, four men were found guilty and sentenced to death.

But what has happened in the year since the rape to address violence against women?
– India’s parliament passed anti-rape legislation earlier this year that would criminalize offenses like stalking.

  • Organizations launched campaigns, in an effort to bring awareness to the prevalence of violence against women and offer suggestions for ways to stop it. This in-depth PBS NewsHour report from April details the some of those efforts.
  • Earlier this year, in New Delhi, a help line was set up to encourage women to speak up and report crimes when they happen.
  • And police in Delhi say that they conduct “surprise raids” on public transportation routes in which large numbers of women travel to monitor the incidents of harassment

According to the Wall Street Journal, more women in India are coming forward – reporting rapes and harassment. ” In Delhi, for example, 1,493 rapes were reported to police in the first 11 months of this year, more than double the number reported in the same period of 2012.”

It’s an encouraging indicator, but experts caution that there is much work to be done.

Ranjana Kumari who heads the Delhi-based Centre for Social Research, told the AFP:

“The society is indeed becoming more sensitive to rape victims now, but there is still a long way to go. You cannot deny there is a rape epidemic in the country.”