Five Indian men accused of the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi have been formally charged with murder, rape and kidnapping in a New Delhi court.
On 16 December, the woman known to the public as Damini was raped for over an hour on a moving bus before being thrown naked onto the street along with her male friend. The attack, which included a metal rod, was so violent that it destroyed her internal organs and led to her death in hospital last week.
This atrocity has outraged and united much of India and the rest of the world. And unlike the thousands of sexual assaults in India each year that go unnoticed or unpunished, this crime has drawn attention to the nation's war on women and the patriarchal culture that underwrites it.
Something better for India
There have been almost daily protests across India since the attack, forcing an unresponsive government to take action. A fast-track court in Delhi to deal specifically with crimes against women was established this week to allow the case to be quickly heard.
But the issue is far deeper than one tragic case. India is ranked as the worst G20 country in which to be a woman, and the number of reported rapes and sexual assaults is rising rapidly. Of over 600 reported rapes in Delhi in 2012, only one resulted in a conviction. Ankita Cheerakathil, 20, a student who attended a protest on Thursday, told the New York Times: "This is not an isolated incident. This is the story of every Indian woman."
India already has laws against rape and a range of other legal protections, but in the face of dangerous social norms and official indifference these laws don't work. After the assault on Damini and her friend, it took Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh nearly a week to publicly address the issue, despite the ongoing furious outcry. The city police commissioner initially responded by saying that men too were unsafe, as "their pockets were picked".
What makes this case unique is not its brutality or the senseless official response – these are sadly all too common – but the way the public has come together to demand something better. And something better is desperately needed – not just in India, but around the world.
Read more: An earlier Daily Briefing report , written before Damini's death, provides more background on this horrific case.
Sources: CNN, India Today, Al Jazeera, Guardian, New York Times, BBC, Avaaz