This is the joint website of  Women Against Rape and Black Women's Rape Action Project. Both organisations are based on self-help and provide support, legal information and advocacy. We campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.

WAR was founded in 1976. It has won changes in the law, such as making rape in marriage a crime, set legal precedents and achieved compensation for many women. BWRAP was founded in 1991. It focuses on getting justice for women of colour, bringing out the particular discrimination they face. It has prevented the deportation of many rape survivors. Both organisations are multiracial.

 

 

 

Women Against Rape

Grassroots multi-racial women's group founded in 1976. Offers counselling, support, legal advocacy and information to women and girls who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

Women will be the losers if the Government allows anonymity

In the Media

Independent, 10 July 2010

Comment

Anonymity for men accused of rape was introduced in 1976 but reversed in 1988 because it hampered police investigations. The proposal to reintroduce it relies on the sexist myth that women are quick to lie about rape.

Nothing is further from the truth. It is extremely hard for women to report rape, and 90 per cent never do. Those who report often say it was to protect others. But many are disbelieved or dismissed by police and prosecutors and even urged to withdraw – no wonder the conviction rate for reported rape remains 6.5 per cent.

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First person: 'I was illegally deported from Britain'

In the Media
Photo of Mary

Mary, 40 Interview by Cheryl Gallagher, The Independent Saturday, 17 April 2010

Mary says: 'The immigration escorts dragged us to the plane. They were pulling my hair and my braids fell out'

In the run-up to the 2001 elections in my country in East Africa, I was campaigning for an opposition group when some government soldiers kidnapped me in front of my children. I was raped and tortured and they starved me. After about a month, one of the soldiers accidentally left the door open and I escaped. I decided that I had to leave the country with my children.

After we had been in England for a few years, we were woken up at 5am by a loud bang at the door. A man shouted: "Open up! Immigration." We'd had no warning we were going to be deported. We were caged in the back of a van like prisoners and they wouldn't let me take my medication for depression.

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What you can do to support Gail Sherwood

On 4th March 2010, Gail Sherwood, a 52-year-old mother of three, was sentenced to two years in prison for falsely claiming she had been harassed and raped by an unknown stranger. Women Against Rape has been supporting Gail for over 18 months and throughout her six-week trial. We are convinced that she is innocent. So are over 70 of her friends and family who wrote to the judge: “We have always found Gail to be kind, intelligent, well-balanced, and above all honest... [She] had no reason to jeopardise her family life with her daughters, her partner, her dogs and her livelihood by making up something that did not happen...”

For more information visit (http://www.womenagainstrape.net/content/defence-case) and read the excellent article published in the Guardian on Friday 5th March 2010 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/09/gail-sherwood-jailed-campaigners).

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Jailed for crying rape: fantasist or genuine victim?

Supporters of Gail Sherwood say her conviction will discourage others from reporting attacks. Prosecutors say she had to be taken to court for the sake of real rape victims

Steven Morris
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 9 March 2010 13.19 GMT
Article history

 

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The Defence Case

Court report – the Defence case

DS Wood was recalled to the witness box to answer the questions he was unable to answer in previous days. He confirmed that:
- Vaginal swabs had not been tested for lubricant (although Mrs Sherwood had always said the rapist used a condom).
- Mrs Sherwood had not been seen “vigorously hitting herself” in the vagina in order to cause injury, as claimed by the prosecutor, but that two officers claimed to have seen her “rubbing herself”.

Mrs Sherwood later explained that she had tried to shift her hips as she was numb on the cold ground and that an officer had pulled her legs straight telling her to stay still. She emphatically denied injuring herself.

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Report of the trial of Mrs Gail Sherwood in Bristol Crown Court

There seems to be an increasing trend to prosecute women who reported rape and were not believed by police.  On 8 January 2010 Mrs Gail Sherwood was put on trial in Bristol Crown Court accused of making false allegations.  She has had WAR’s support for nearly two years.

We are concerned that the trial should be accurately reported as the media coverage of such cases is often biased and sensational. So far newspapers have only mentioned the prosecution’s arguments, sometimes inaccurately. The defence begins on Monday 1 February and we hope that the media will present what Mrs Sherwood and her witnesses say.
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We can’t sit by while victims of rape and other torture are deported

Kristina Brandemo, Women Against Rape
Women speak out in Parliament against detention, deportation, privatisation and profiteering. 14 January 2010
Report of meeting and more speaches

I would first like to mention some international decisions grassroots women have won in pressing for rape to be acknowledged as grounds for asylum

UN resolution 1820 recognises rape as a method of war.

A Humanitarian Protection criteria for seeking asylum has been introduced in the UK. It specifically mentions rape as a form of “serious harm”. Until this the only way people could claim asylum was under the Refugee Convention which did not refer to women or rape and sexual violence.

But these victories have not fundamentally changed what women can win in the UK courts.

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Taxi rapes case lays police failures bare

In the Media

John Worboys's victims were let down by a careless and prejudiced police investigation. It's an all too familiar story

Lisa Longstaff
Comment is Free guardian.co.uk Wednesday 20 January 2010

DSC04318LisaGDN.JPGThe young victim of convicted rapist John Worboys said it all: "If something like this had happened in a private business, people would have been sacked. I just do not see how these people can carry on in the police."

The report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) on what went wrong with the Worboys police investigation is once again a catalogue of carelessness and prejudice: evidence not gathered, witnesses not interviewed and, most importantly, bias against victims.

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Asylum from Rape Bulletin Winter 2010

Bulletin

image002.jpgLandmark compensation for torture victim and her family

A mother and her five children have won a precedent-setting, six figure compensation award from the Home Office for abuse and injuries sustained during deportation to Uganda in 2006.

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When I got deported Women Against Rape didn’t drop me

Success story

When I got deported Women Against Rape didn’t drop me, they stayed in touch with me, calling me in Uganda asking how are you, what is happening to you. When I got back to the UK we had to start from scratch and fight for me to be able to claim asylum.

Sometimes during that time I was so upset and so depressed I couldn’t face anything. I would call the Centre and they would tell me you have to be strong, we are here for you and they would help me work out what I had to do next. When my children come I want to stand them in the middle of this Centre to tell them that it is because of these people you are here. This is the truth from the bottom of my heart.

Landmark compensation for torture victim and her family

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