"Courage is rare... so rare that you doubt every ounce of it that you find," said activist Harish Iyer of his friend Suzette Jordan, who died on Monday of meningoencephalitis.
The 40-year-old mother of two fought for justice in the infamous 'Park Street Rape' case till the very end. About her fight, she said she had been "gang-raped not once, but over and over".
"The people of this country have continuously defeated her. They have let her down to abysmal levels. She was made a victim all her life, even though she was a survivor," said Mr Iyer.
In 2012, Ms Jordan was raped by a man from whom she had accepted a lift while leaving an eatery in Kolkata's Park Street. The case had raised a furore in the state.
Days after the rape, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had accused Ms Jordan of fabricating the story. Ms Jordan later said anyone can "make a mistake". Last year, she was denied entry at a restaurant because she was a rape survivor.
"The policemen, politicians, lawyers and judges often seek to demean and shame the survivor - as do others in society who avidly speculate about the survivor's character," she added.
Women's Rights Activist Brinda Karat said attitudes of judges at times "do not empower a woman, it disempowers her".