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.

 

 

 

Maureen on hearing that she won her case

“Winning my case was not the end, it was just the beginning. It is a victory and a part of me wants to be happy but I can’t be happy because of my children. If I feel happy I feel guilty because I don’t have them with me.

"It took all my strength and emotions to win. I was drained and so tired  because every little thing is a fight. But mainly I was at the end of my strength because of my constant thoughts of my children I had to leave  behind. My life has gone ahead but my wounds have become deeper all this  time.

"I won because I had help. WAR helped me to organise my case to make sure  the right information went in to the Home Office. When my lawyer wrote a letter and I wasn’t happy with it, I got WAR’s help to change it. She  wanted to put in that my children were dead. I told her I don’t want that  down in writing anywhere, I don’t know if my children are dead, I hope with all my heart they aren’t.

"I got to work as a team. Together you have one strong voice. You can’t do  it if you are one person. And you need persistence. You need to believe in yourself. You have to say “This is what I went through, this is what I want and this is what I am demanding” despite people saying you have no case.

"The way our cases are decided, it is not even fair. It was the Home Office  and the first solicitor that messed up my case but I paid the price over and over. I should have been treated like a victim and it shouldn’t have taken  me four years to win.

"I decided to speak publicly partly because I think people should know  really what is happening to us. If I didn’t speak out I would have been labelled a bogus asylum seeker because my case would never have been heard.

"To tell you the truth if I had not come to this Centre I would have been on  the street, hiding in a corner. I would have disappeared. I was so scared  of being detained I lived in dread of a knock on the door, of people coming  to take me into detention. After I met this group I could start to live again because I thought “If I get taken there is someone out there to make sure that I come out.”

"I have friends who ask what is so special about the Crossroads Women’s  Centre. I say the ladies there believe in you as a person, as an individual  and they are interested in how it is affecting you and what your situation  is. For the big organisations you are just part of their statistics. The  Centre is my home, my other family, it is everything to me. Thank you to people who gave me advice, who gave me tissues, and remedies. I walked from office to office with them, they deserved to be treated better than they were by the people we met. The struggle continues. This is just a place from which to start fighting and I will always be here."

November 2007

[1][1] A Self-help group of women asylum seekers based with us at the
Crossroads Women’s Centre, of which Ms Mahoro is a member.

Fantastic News: Maureen M found her children

 

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