Indian parents hunted down their daughter's alleged rapists after police refused to carry out an investigation.
Their 19-year-old daughter was allegedly gang raped by a group of men when she was walking home from a study centre in the city of Bhopal on Tuesday evening (31 October).
The parents, who are both police officials, were forced to take matters into their own hands when police did not take their complaint seriously.
The victim told police that four men tied her up and raped her for hours under a bridge, less than a 100m away from a busy intersection and the Habibganj train station. She was accused of "making up a flimsy story" by one officer.
A rape investigation was only officially opened after her parents tracked down two of the men and brought them to the police station.
They chased down the men after their daughter spotted them "loitering in front of Mansarowar Complex, which is around 500m from the spot of crime," the victim's mother told the India Times.
"It's one of the worst experiences of my life. If I, as a policewoman, have to face such problems in filing my daughter's gang rape complaint, I can't imagine what a common person goes through," she said.
Two police officers have been sacked for refusing to lodge the complaint, according to local media.
Nisha Varia, advocacy director for women's rights at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told IBTimes UK that despite strengthened laws, victims still face many obstacles when reporting sexual assault to police.
"Police officers often share deeply-entrenched social attitudes that stigmatize and blame victims of sexual violence instead of supporting them," she said. "Many police officers refuse to file a First Information Report to record the complaint and initiate an investigation. Investigations that do go forward are often conducted poorly."
In order for victims to receive the support they need, Varia said the Indian government should invest in "training and sensitizing police and connecting victims to legal services."
The government promised to tackle the pervasive issue of sexual violence following the brutal gang rape of 23-year-old student Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012, but activists say more must be done to hold rapists accountable and encourage victims to come forward, without fearing retribution or blame.
In August, a 12-year-old girl was gang raped at knifepoint while walking to school in broad daylight.
Aruna Kashyap, senior counsel for women's rights at HRW, told IBTimes UK at the time that the Indian government "has done little" to create safe public spaces for women and girls.
She said that it was vital that sex education classes become mandatory at all schools.
"Teaching boys and men about consent, power, gender equality, love, consensual sex and reproductive choices is critical to building a society that understands and respects women's bodies," Kashyap said.