A 9-year-old girl was raped and murdered in India. Her death is part of a bigger problem facing Dalit women

Updated 10:56 PM ET, Mon September 13, 2021

CNN spoke to several activists from Dalit Women Fight (DWF), which campaigns for the rights of women from their community. While Riya Singh and Mohini Bala are public about their work, the names of the other activists have been changed for their protection. This story is part of CNN's commitment to covering issues around identity, including race, gender, sexuality, religion, class and caste.

(CNN) 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.