A group of Dalit women activists in India are dedicating their lives to the dangerous task of supporting members of their community who have survived sexual abuse. Their work usually involves a secret fact-finding mission at the village where a survivor lives in order to help her build a case, says Rekha, an activist aged 24. "There is an element of fear," says Rekha. "The perpetrators also live in that village, or nearby." But working in a group helps, she says.
These women are from the Dalit community, officially also known as Scheduled Caste, traditionally positioned on the bottom rung of an ancient, hierarchical structure that can confine Indians to a particular trade
, choice of marital partner and whom they mix with from the moment they are born.