Girls learn to fight attackers in India
02:41 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

The Red Brigade is a group of young girls fighting against sexual abuse

Many sex crimes against women go unreported in India due to cultural stigma

Rape of a young girl on a public bus in Delhi in December provoked outrage

Many feel women's issues, including sexual abuse, are not taken seriously

Lucknow, India CNN  — 

In a dusty, run-down neighborhood on the outskirts of Lucknow, the capital of one of India’s poorest and most conservative states, Uttar Pradesh, a vigilante group is making a name for itself.

But these are no ordinary vigilantes.

They’re girls – mainly teenagers – who patrol their local streets protecting women and girls from sexual harassment. In their matching black and red black salwar kameez – the traditional garb worn by women across South Asia – they target offending males who have over-stepped the mark.

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The punishment? Humiliation, sometimes worse.

Their motivation is painfully clear. Every single girl in the so-called “Red Brigade” has been a victim of sexual assault – some have even been raped by their own family members, they say.

In most cases, the crimes have gone unpunished and the victim left to suffer the trauma in silent shame. These girls have been forced to act, they say, because no one else will.