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Young girls forced to learn self defence as number of India rape cases continue to rise

In India, girls are taught don't get raped. Boys are not taught, don't rape.

This is how one girl at a rally in Delhi summed up the country’s sexual violence problem.

The young women we spoke to described living in fear because of a rape culture that, despite government promises, continues to get worse.

But in recent weeks, a series of shocking child rape cases have been exposed, victims under the age of 12 who could not, and should not have to, defend themselves against such heinous crime.

As we arrived in India, one of the youngest victims so far was confirmed by police in Indore.

A four-month-old baby, abducted while sleeping with her homeless parents, Lakshmi was sexually assaulted and then brutally murdered.

Her blood-soaked body was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs, just meters from where she'd been taken.

The horrific details of that case emerged as the nationwide demonstrations were held in anger at the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kashmir.

Asifa Bano was repeatedly sexually assaulted, strangled and brutally murdered in a temple by eight Hindu men.

She was targeted because she was Muslim and they wanted to threaten the minority community they accuse of stealing their land.

It took Prime Minister Modi several days to address the recent attacks, but at the weekend he announced the death penalty will be introduced for those convicted of raping a child under the age of 12.

The ruling party is reluctant to speak about the issue but we managed to get an interview with the spokesman in Delhi.

Young girls are taking self defence classes to try and protect themselves. Credit: ITV News

He'd made time for us he told me, because he is always happy to help foreign journalists.

Our all female team found much of his interview to be patronising and his dismissal of India's rape culture very worrying.

He said much of what was being reported was largely propaganda.

He told us India is doing a lot to support women including a project to provide them with gas stoves and another to improve toilets to give them some dignity.

It was "a shame" he said that they could not control such crimes for several decades.

Faced with such an attitude in authority it is little wonder that Indian women are living in fear.

More than ever before they are enrolling in self defence classes, the onus is on them to make sure they don't become the next rape victim.

One of the girls in the class said it was every woman's responsibility to ensure they are equipped to fend off an attack.