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Girls & Women

An India Railway Officer Jumped from a Moving Train to Rescue A Woman From Rape

A transit security worker is being called a hero after he jumped off a moving train in India to rescue a woman who was being sexually assaulted.

As a train pulled out of Chintadripet station in Chennai, India, late Monday night, Railway Protection Force officer K. Shivaji heard screams coming from the women-only car, according to the International Business Times.

Shivaji sprang into action. He waited for the train to slow slightly, and then leapt from one car to the next to investigate.

There he a found 26-year-old man attempting to sexually assault the woman whose screams he’d heard, according to the report. Shivaji pushed the man off the woman, saving her. 

When the rest of Shivaji’s team arrived at the scene, the victim was unconscious, the Times of India reported. They rushed the woman, whose clothes were torn and lips were bleeding, to the hospital, where doctors said her condition was stable.

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Her attacker was arrested and charged with attempted rape, meaning unlike many victims of sexual violence in India, the woman may see justice served.

India continues to grapple with widespread sexual violence and although the country strengthened its rape laws after mass protests in 2012, many victims are shamed and pressured by law enforcement officials into not filing reports.

Read more: Despite India’s Anti-Rape Laws, Sexual Assault Is Still a Major Problem

Around the world, women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment or assault on public transportation, where people are often packed into close quarters. There have been several high profile cases of women being sexually assault on buses in both Morocco and India.

According to government data, nearly 39,000 rapes were reported in India in 2016, though the social stigma of rape that discourages women from reporting incidents means the true number is probably higher.

Last week, thousands of people across India protested against sexual violence and called for stricter rape laws, following two shocking gang rape cases of young girls — one just 8 years old.

Read more: This Woman Is on Hunger Strike Until India Changes Its Rape Laws

In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi controversially approved an executive order on Saturday that paves the way for rapists to receive the death penalty. However, Human Rights Watch has criticized the move calling such a law “inherently cruel and irreversible, with little evidence that it serves as a deterrent.”

Global Citizen campaigns against in support of gender equality and women’s rights. You can take action here to urge governments to #LeveltheLaw by strengthening their sexual violence and rape laws.