Sexual assault is a huge, huge problem in India. Not only are the number of reported rapes disgustingly high, but women are 40 times more likely to die after being raped in the country than compared to the US.
There has been public outrage against the epidemic of sexual attacks against women in the country, but still the problem persists.
Something that actress Sanusha Santhosh unfortunately experienced firsthand when she fell asleep on a train.
The 23-year-old recounted her horrifying story to The News Minute. She was awoken by 40-year-old Anto Bose touching her lips. She immediately twisted his hand and turned on the light and started screaming for help.
But no help came.
"I was sleeping. Suddenly I felt something touch my lip. When I woke up I saw this guy lying on the upper berth opposite me trying to feel my lips. I immediately twisted his hand and switched on the light."
Superb strength and presence of mind. Kerala actress Sanusha Santosh @official_sammu says she twisted the fingers of her molester, didn't let him off. She says she woke up to a man's hand rubbing against her lips, while she was asleep in the train around 1:15am. @ndtv— Sneha Koshy (@SnehaMKoshy) February 1, 2018
Only two men came to her aid, everyone else minded their own business.
"When I told everyone, nobody seemed to mind. Only two people, writer Unni R and Ranjith, a man from Kozhikode, helped me out. I think people’s protest and outrage begin and end on Facebook. But when you’re confronted with a real life situation, nobody cares or reacts."
The entire experience has changed Sanusha's view on humanity.
"Probably if I had put up a status on Facebook, there would have been many more people showing support, saying "I'm with Sanusha" and changing their display pictures. However, as a woman I want members of the community to stand up for me at times when such incidents happen, not just later on social media. It is really disheartening and I have lost faith in the society."
When Sanusha first saw that no one was coming to her aid, she doubled down on twisting the creep's hand until police arrived - and didn't let go until authorities apprehended the man.
I was sleeping & this guy was sleeping right opposite me. I felt somebody rubbing my lips. When I opened my eyes, his hand was on my lips. I caught his hand, switched on lights & called for help. Nobody came. I went to see TT. He called for police, who took him with them: Actress pic.twitter.com/6yQ5mgqKCR— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2018
People on Twitter couldn't believe that the actress was initially left to fend for herself and were impressed by her doggedness in bringing the man to justice.
Incredible young woman and an actress #Sanusha tells NDTV that as she twisted the fingers of her molester in the train, he begged her not to make it an issue. She did and handed him over to the police. What a tragedy that none of the co-passengers helped her, except two!! pic.twitter.com/cmjPYcrkJm— Sneha Koshy (@SnehaMKoshy) February 1, 2018
Sadly, Sanusha tells @ndtv , she called for help, shouted but no one came forward to help, except script writer Unni and a young man called Renjith. Even the person on the berth below didn't help. The other two men called TTE, who informed railway. Alleged assaulted arrested.— Sneha Koshy (@SnehaMKoshy) February 1, 2018
It brought up a conversation of sexual assaults on trains in India.
And other people just want men in the country to step up and help women who are in danger.
India's rape problem has depressingly extended to sexual crimes against children.
Someone assaulted an 8-month-old child.
The worst has happened. An 8 month old baby has been brutally raped in the Capital and is battling for her life in a Hospital. Going to the hospital to meet her. Am totally numb. Terrified to face her! Please please pray for her.— Swati Jai Hind (@SwatiJaiHind) January 29, 2018
In fact, there's been an 82% increase in attacks against children in the country from 2015 to 2016.
People are understandably horrified and are demanding action from the country's leaders.
My heart felt condolences with that little girl. Hanging or hacking that person to death will not help solve the problem...the conscience of India has to rise and take a united pledge to refrain from committing such reprehensible actions. #IndiaAgainstRape— Mohit Jacob (@humanist_mohit) January 30, 2018
What to do? How can Delhi sleep today when 8 month baby has been brutally raped in Capital? Have we become so insensitive or we have simply accepted this as our fate? Where is the sena which attacked a school bus to 'protect honour'? No one to ask questions from the system now?— Swati Jai Hind (@SwatiJaiHind) January 29, 2018
The country's history with sexual crimes and their perceptions is a sordid one. Fatal protests in August of 2017 erupted when a spiritual guru was convicted of rape and his devout followers rioted.
This 2015 study from Carnegie Mellon University takes a look at the socio-historical roots that rape and sexual assault have in the country and why they've grown into such a big problem today.