The recent gang-rape of a young Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras by upper-caste men and her hurried cremation at midnight serve as a grim reminder of how the existing framework continues to fail women.

In this case, the consistent pattern of insensitivity speaks for itself. The victim succumbed to her injuries on Wednesday, after being ignored by the police at the outset and then being denied adequate medical care at the hospital.

Neither was an FIR filed after she was brought to the police station nor was a medical professional called to treat her serious injuries (fracture of her second and third cervical vertebrae while she was strangled with her dupatta). The police apathy shows a systemic rot that must be addressed at every level.

As a society, we must come together, shedding any political affiliation, to make fundamental changes to the system. This strengthening must begin at the grassroots level by creating awareness and infrastructure.

Easy access and loud messaging

Everybody should be able to reach women’s protection officers whenever they need – whether it be through helplines or direct contact. Their contact numbers should be heavily publicised. They must be in a position to intervene in all instances of violence against women.

Not only that they must be...

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