Editor’s note: This story contains language and details of sexual violence.
A three-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was allegedly raped in Delhi, India, on Sunday, the BBC reports. A 40-year-old security guard who worked in her building is thought to be responsible and has been arrested. Neighbors allegedly caught the 40-year-old man and severely beat him, according to Delhi Women’s Commissioner Swati Maliwal.
The incident occurred on the six-year anniversary of the death of Jyoti Singh, a female medical student who was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi 2012, sparking national outrage. As a result of Sunday’s news, Maliwal tweeted the city has “let down” Singh, also known as “Nirbhaya,” which means “fearless” in Hindi.
Really troubled. Been more than 2 hrs. The girl is still in the Operation Theater. Her mother is inconsolable.— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) December 16, 2018
On this very night, 6 years back Nirbhaya was brutally raped. Nothing has changed. Until swiftness & certainty of strong punishment is ensured, nothing will change!
Police found the toddler unconscious and immediately rushed her to the hospital, where she’s currently in surgery. Local news referred to the attack as “brutal,” according to CNN. Police said they are still waiting for medical test results to determine whether or not to classify the attack as rape, according to CNN. It is unknown whether she will survive.
The accused man allegedly coerced the girl with sweet treats while she was outside of her house. The girl’s parents weren’t present at the time of the attack — like many of the world’s largest population of people living in poverty, they are daily wage workers.
Sexual violence is extremely prevalent in India. An Indian government survey found 42% of girls in the country have been sexually abused. And about 40% of girls believe they’ll be shamed or dismissed if they report an assault to authorities.
The country is aware of the problem but change is taking time. In April, the Indian government passed a law making the rape of a girl under the age of 12 punishable by death after protests erupted following two high-profile child rape cases.
A 2018 Thomson Reuters Foundation survey still ranked India as the most dangerous country for women in the world. The survey found that despite efforts like all-female police forces and public transportation panic buttons, more needs to be done to protect women.
If you have experienced sexual abuse, call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access the 24-7 help online by visiting online.rainn.org. You can find international resources here.