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Indian women hold candles and placards during a protest against two recently reported rape cases, in Ahmadabad, India, April 16, 2018. The outrage was triggered by the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir and the abduction and rape of a teenage girl in India's northern Uttar Pradesh state.
Ajit Solanki/AP
Girls & Women

A Teenage Girl in India Committed Suicide After Being Gang Raped

Despite recent mass protests against rape and the introduction of harsher penalties, India is still in the midst of a sexual violence crisis. Just this week, two teenage girls were gang raped in the state of Haryana.

The horrifying situation took an even more tragic turn on Sunday when one of the victims, a 16-year-old girl who was kidnapped and raped by men from her village, hung herself, Reuters reported.

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Not a single suspect in either case has been arrested, though police continue to search for the attackers.

“We are conducting multiple raids at various places where the accused could be hiding. They will be arrested soon,” Jai Bhagwan, a member of the local police force, told the Hindustan Times.

The father of the 16-year-old told the Hindustan Times that his daughter had identified her attackers to law enforcement authorities, noting that they had stalked and “misbehaved” around her in the past.

Police spokesman Ravindra Kumar told Reuters that the other case — in which a 19-year-old was gang raped by a bus driver and several other men after she was misled to believe she had missed her bus — is still “under investigation.”

Read more: 12 Photos That Show How People Won’t Stop Protesting India Rapes Until Justice Is Served

In addition to amending and strengthening its rape laws in 2012 and approving the death penalty for convicted rapists last month, India’s Supreme Court has also ordered courts to process and investigate child rape cases more expediently.

Yet these measures have done little to stem the widespread sexual violence.

According to government data, nearly 39,000 rapes were reported in India in 2016. But because of the social stigma surrounding sexual violence, it’s likely that many rape victims did not officially file reports, meaning the true number is probably significantly higher.

Global Citizen campaigns to amend laws and change attitudes that discriminate against women and girls. You can take action here to urge governments to strengthen their sexual violence and rape laws.