Among those held are her brother, an uncle and a cousin. The police said that the neighbor she had accused had also been arrested as part of an investigation into the rape. The girl, her family and the neighbor could not be reached for comment.
Reports of horrific sexual assaults on women have become familiar in India, where by some calculations the average number of rapes committed daily works out to one roughly every 15 to 20 minutes.
But a publicized spate of brazen assaults in recent years has mobilized women’s groups and other activists to raise the alarm on deeply entrenched misogyny that may be fueling the attacks.
That includes the problem of victim shaming, which is most acute in rural areas, women’s rights activists say, where a rape survivor is often regarded as a shamed woman, unfit for marriage. Many rape victims pay the price for speaking out, with their family members disowning them or pressuring them to stay quiet.
Perpetrators of sexual violence can act with impunity, activists say, because only a handful of rape cases lead to prosecutions, out of tens of thousands of cases reported a year. In 2019, the last time the Indian government provided statistics, an average of 87 rapes were reported daily,though the true scope is far worse because most go unreported.
In villages the problem is exacerbated because complaints are handled by councils of men, who mete out their own punishments, said Ranjana Kumari, a women’s rights activist in New Delhi.
“Victim shaming in this country has become so common,” said Ms. Kumari, who is also director of the Center for Social Research, a nonprofit group in New Delhi that supports women’s rights. “If you commit a crime against women, perpetrators think they can get away with it.”