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Dangers on the streets of India, shape lives, stifle dreams of country's young women

  • Activists of All Indian Democratic Women's Association and Students Federation of India shout slogans during a protest in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. The hours-long gang-rape and near-fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country as Indians demanded action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)The Associated Press

  • Indian women hold candles as they participate in a silent protest rally in the eastern Indian city Bhubaneswar, India, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. The hours-long gang-rape and near-fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country as Indians demanded action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)The Associated Press

  • Indian students shout slogans as they march during a protest in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. The hours-long gang-rape and near-fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi triggered outrage and anger across the country Wednesday as Indians demanded action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)The Associated Press

It is almost every Indian woman's nightmare, lived daily when in public — a stream of obscene comments, unwanted hands being placed on them and then being blamed for causing the sexual violence.

The gang-rape and beating of a 23-year-old student by six men on a bus in New Delhi may have sparked days of protests and demands for authorities to take tougher action, but for women in India it is just an extreme example of what they have to live with.

Many in India's capital and across the country say they are constantly on guard, fearing everything from the routine gropings they suffer on public buses to far more violent assaults. Some say they have structured their entire lives around protecting themselves and their children.