More than one year after the crime, a prominent Bollywood director and scholar has been found guilty of raping a 35-year-old Columbia University doctoral student who was conducting research in India.

The conviction on Saturday was hailed as a victory, though a small one, for women’s rights in a deeply patriarchal country that has grappled with its handling of sexual assault for years. Despite efforts to recruit more female police officers and the creation of women-only public transportation, the number of reported rapes has steadily risen, from 24,932 in 2012 to more than 36,968 in 2014, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau. But in a country where only about a quarter of those reports will result in a conviction, even one can be a sign of hope.

Mahmood Farooqui, best known as co-director of the 2010 Bollywood film “Peepli Live,” was introduced to the unidentified student by a mutual friend and was helping the student conduct field work for her doctorate in Hindi studies. The director is also a former Rhodes scholar and prominent researcher of a 16th-century oral storytelling form called Dastangoi.

In March 2015, Farooqui invited the woman to his Delhi home so the two could travel to a wedding together, reports the Times of India. The woman was smoking on his porch when the director, who was drunk, asked her to sit on his couch.

“He kissed me, pinned me down with his arms and sexually assaulted me,” the woman said in a courtroom statement. (The Post does not identify rape victims.)

At a later court date, the woman said she did not physically resist Farooqui because she feared she would be injured or killed, specifically mentioning another young student who was raped and killed by six men on a Delhi bus in 2012. One of the perpetrators in that case later said that the victim would have survived had she stayed “silent and allowed the rape.”

The woman returned to the United States shortly after the assault to be with family and friends and to heal, she told Rama Lakshmi, a Washington Post correspondent who knows both Farooqui and the woman and who wrote about the case in a Facebook post. “I have always been the person who owns her body and sexuality,” the woman told Lakshmi. “What happened to me that night took that ownership away.”

The woman hesitated to file charges because she feared a culture that often blames sexual assault victims instead of the perpetrators, prevalent in India and many other countries. This, many say, is the heart of the problem: a culture that teaches women it is their fault they were assaulted, that somewhere, somehow, they made a mistake.

But the woman changed her mind when she thought about her niece, Lakshmi said.

She wanted to teach her to never be silenced and instead “stand up and fight” if someone harms her. She returned to India in June to file a police report and to show police several emails in which Farooqui apologized for his actions, the Hindustan Times reports. Farooqui later denied the allegations.

“I will not let Mahmood Farooqui’s act rob me of my idea of who I am,” the woman told Lakshmi.

Farooqui was taken into custody shortly after his conviction and arguments regarding his sentencing were expected to be held Tuesday. The director faces a minimum of seven years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment, the Indian Express reports.