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.

 

 

 

The mother of a child rape victim responds to the media hype following the acquittal of Le Vell on child rape allegations

“I’m quite concerned about comments that were made in the media, that because this man has been found not guilty, the girl has made a false allegation. Have you not considered balancing your story out a bit? 

Let me just tell you my story. My name’s Sally. I was the woman who just took on the Met and won (there was a settlement out of court) after they messed up my daughter’s rape investigation. My daughter’s case went to court and [the man] was acquitted at court. The reason he was acquitted at court was because the police didn’t gather evidence correctly and the CPS did not pick up on that.

It took me seven years to fight the Met, ok? Now my daughter would be classed as one of these ‘false allegations’, and I’m wondering if the media responsible for this hype have ever considered balancing their story with the story of a child who went through the system, watched her rapist walk away, because of failures within the system that let her down, then proving they had failed her, and ended up terribly damaged because of how the system failed her.

You know you’re all talking about how this guy’s life has been ruined. Well I am now a volunteer with Women Against Rape, and I have been for seven years because of what I went through with my daughter. When this man was acquitted, I thought this girl and her family must be devastated. I have lived through the effects that can have. Even more devastating is the media now hyping it up, and saying that this girl is lying. There is no proof that this girl is lying and it’s outrageous that the media are putting it across that she lied.

Had I not pursued the Met, my daughter could have been accused of making a false allegation and the Met would have got away with it. My daughter became even more vulnerable because of what happened to her, and we wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on.

And it was only the fact that I came to WAR and that we managed to get a solicitor and my MP involved and all the rest of it that we were able to win. We got them to admit that they made mistakes. A judge in the High Court ruled that had the evidence been there, the verdict could have been guilty. In my daughter’s case, witnesses who hadn’t been interviewed, phone evidence, CCTV – you know, it was simple basic stuff that a police Sapphire rape unit, a ‘Gold Star unit’, should have picked up on.

I came to WAR because I felt so strongly about how the system failed my daughter. And we hear all this stuff about men suffering being accused in the media, but actually, we get cases similar to my daughter’s all the time. And all the media want to do is grab the cases where men get found not guilty.

We go to court with women, and some are so mentally disturbed because they have been raped, and they have to watch the guy walk free. And that’s not because they made false allegations.

I read today in the Metro that Nazir Afzal [of the Crown Prosecution Service] said ‘we get the evidence, we present the evidence’. No, that’s not how it works. The evidence is often there, but half the time they don’t gather it, they walk through crime scenes, they let people down, they don’t get the evidence and by the time it’s got to court they’ve let people down and the case has been lost. Or in most cases it doesn’t even get to court. They are spending thousands of pounds of public money and putting victims through hell for a case that’s been lost because they don’t do their jobs properly.

And then they make it impossible to sue them, or even to delve into what’s gone wrong. They put obstacles in front of you, and if you’re not strong enough to overcome those obstacles, you have to walk away, which most rape victims do. I am outraged, honestly.

A false allegation is a very different matter from an acquittal. I think that people are so ignorant of the system … until you go through it, please believe me. The media is just swaying the public completely the wrong way.

There is a very small percentage of false allegations. But we’ve had women in here that have been forced – forced – to retract statements and withdraw their rape allegations. They are being classed as false allegations. You only have to look at that DC Ryan Coleman-Farrow, who was sent to prison for 16 months for forcing women to retract statements and closing rape cases.

It is very dangerous to say that an acquittal is the same as a false allegation. You have to be 100% sure on a jury in order to convict – it is innocent until proven guilty. I am not complaining about that, that’s how it should be. May be they didn’t have enough evidence but that’s no reason for this hype against the girl and her mother.”

12 sept 2013
 

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