On December 17 2012, Nirbhaya, a medical student was raped and assaulted in a moving bus in Delhi. Thousands of miles away, an 18-year-old girl in a village near Davangere suffered a similar fate. But there’s a stark difference in the way justice has been delivered to two victims of rape. While the SC upheld the death sentence for Nirbhaya’s rapists, the 22-year-old from Karnataka faces the reality of watching her perpetrators walk away from jail next year.

Karnataka’s Nirbhaya remembers that fateful day when her life changed forever. The college student, who stepped into a minivan was dragged out by three men and the driver and was raped in a field. “I begged them not to do anything. But they paid no heed. They were cruel. Around 1 am, they dropped me outside the village,” she told The New Indian Express.

Her mother told her not to go to the police but this only motivated her rapists to follow her around the village a few weeks later. She decided to take action and lodged a complaint on January 30. The four men, Devaraj, Raghavendra, Santhosh and Raghu were arrested but the stigma of rape stuck to her and her family.

Her sisters found it difficult to get married and her parents asked to leave their home. She said that she travelled without an extra pair of clothes or slippers. She didn’t even have money and travelled ticketless in trains hoping to get jailed.

“I thought at least I’ll get food in jail. But I didn’t get caught. Then a friend gave me shelter. Later I came to Bengaluru and worked in a mall in Whitefield,” she said.

She perhaps looks like just another girl at a mall but this brave heart has faced extreme circumstances with courage. She said that she lost her job as a result of frequent travel for court hearings. She was even offered Rs 60,000 as compensation from the district administration. She refused because she didn’t want “sympathy money.” She acknowledged that the money would have come in handy with her education but her friends have helped her out so far.

For this 22-year-old, challenges have been many and yet there’s also hope. She said that she wanted a similar fate for her perpetrators and added that she will move her case to a higher court if it's denied.

“If I hadn’t filed the case, more girls would have fallen victim to the same men. I didn’t want other girls to face my plight. If the conviction hadn’t happened, I would have been made to feel guilty,” she added.