Approximately a year after the Western #MeToo movement reached its crescendo, sexual assault remains a pressing issue in every aspect of society, whether it involves  Christine Blasey Ford’s powerful testimony at the Kavanaugh hearings or allegations against famed soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. Currently, a push described as “India’s #MeToo movement” is gaining traction in the subcontinent. In order to combat ongoing sexual assault and rape, ensure that perpetrators are punished, and ultimately make India a safer place for women, assault survivors and allies must make their voices heard.

While women have always been second-class citizens in Indian society—due in large part to dated cultural norms—since the brutal gang rape and murder of a twenty-three-year-old student in Delhi in December 2012, sexual assault and rape have been reported more widely by victims and in the media, although 99% of cases remain unreported. In 2013, reports of rape increased by 26%, the largest surge in the past fifteen years, and reports of all crimes against women climbed by the same increment in 2016. Several cases of assault just this year garnered international attention. In January, eight-year-old Asifa Bano was raped and murdered in Indian-administered Kashmir; this May, there were three separate cases of teenage girls being raped and subsequently set on fire within a week; and this October, a video of a woman being gang-raped on the banks of the Ganges circulated on social media. According to national statistics, one woman is raped in India every thirteen minutes, and a study conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation earlier this year found that India is currently the most dangerous country in the world for women, mostly because of cultural traditions and human trafficking, as well as sexual violence and harassment.

The movement currently gaining momentum is the culmination of centuries of Indian rape culture, but several recent catalysts have triggered it more recently. Although unlike the Western #MeToo movement, this one lacks a definitive starting point, most reports pinpoint two: in September, Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta spoke about her experience of being sexually harassed by famed actor Nana Patekar in 2008 and filed a police report against him; and on October 4th, writer Mahima Kukreja tweeted that she had received an unsought nude photo from comedian Utsav Chakraborty. In response to these allegations, women, especially female journalists, began posting on social media about their own experiences of sexual harassment, resulting in what TIME Magazine calls “a firestorm.” The accused belong to a range of different industries including entertainment, politics, and journalism, and they have reacted in many ways; while some publicly apologize for their actions or resign from positions, others deny any wrongdoing and dismiss the claims against them. Corporations involved with and individuals who work in the same industries as the guilty or accused have taken action; in the film industry, several prominent actors have stated that they refuse to work with people guilty of sexual assault, a production house has closed, and actors and directors have been dropped from productions due to allegations.

For too long, Indian society has maintained a blame-the-victim mentality, and the time for thinking that way is up, because sexual assault is nobody’s choice but the perpetrator’s. An entire culture and society cannot change overnight, but Indian society must come to recognize that women, like men, are humans rather than objects. In the vast majority of cases, women or girls are raped in order for a man to assert his dominance, and commonly, the victims are used as symbols for a community to which they belong. This has to stop. Women, like men, have feelings and deserve to be treated like human beings.

While Indian society remains unwelcoming towards victims, survivors need to come forward and name their accusers. Doing so is indisputably difficult, but the vast number of women who have recently come forward means that they will receive support, and more support than ever before. There is strength in numbers, and increasing them will only provide more credibility to allegations and make the need for change in the system more obvious. Those who are lucky enough not to have experienced assault must show their solidarity towards survivors so the latter feel comfortable coming forward.

After the 2012 Delhi rape case drew outrage, legislation regarding perpetrators of sexual assault and rape increased, although opinions vary regarding its effectiveness. Recent Indian legislation and court decisions have been more progressive, even abolishing the tampon tax and overturning a law that made sex between members of the same gender illegal. This push must continue, and protections for women’s rights and survivors of sexual assault—and the necessary enforcement—must be concretized through laws. To ensure that legislation catches up, people must make their voices heard and put pressure on the system. And while governmental processes work towards these laws, the public needs to follow the example of prominent Indian figures and take matters into its own hands to punish perpetrators of sexual assault.