The conversation has changed in India since that horrific night in December 2012 when a young woman returning home after watching a movie at the cinema was gang raped on a moving bus and left to die on the streets of the Indian capital.

The crime – which triggered outrage amongst urban Indians who took to the streets to protest – acted as a turning point, forcing many in India to face up to the widespread violence inflicted on women and girls in this largely patriarchal nation.

Discussions about rape, acid attacks, sexual harassment, molestation, dowry murders and female foeticide are now no longer just confined to civil society groups, feminists and academics but are being widely debated in the mainstream media and even amongst the usually apathetic political classes.

But while this has helped create greater awareness and social intolerance towards gender crimes, it has also led to a conservative backlash which has over the past year manifested itself through a series of disturbing incidents – some of which can only be described as an attempt at moral policing.

Last week, a female politician and member of the Women’s Commission in the western state of Maharashtra, told a public meeting that some rape victims – including the victim of the Delhi gang rape – may have invited attacks by their behaviour.