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.




Ms Janipher Maseko to be released from detention!

31 May 2007: On 29 May, following a wave of public outrage against the Home Office, social services and SERCO (the company running Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre), Ms Janipher Maseko, an 18 year old mother who was detained and separated from her two young children, was told that she and her children are to be released. Hundreds of letters, calls and other pressure forced the Home Office to concede that they could not justify her continued incarceration. Directions to remove her to Uganda have also been cancelled.

In the course of pressing for Ms Maseko to be reunited with her children and released, it came out that other mothers and babies had also been cruelly separated. In a letter to Lord Avebury about a Vietnamese mother and her six-month-old baby, Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne said:

"It is clear that the case was not satisfactorily handled. Prechecks had failed to reveal that Mrs N was part of a family unit. The staff involved in Mrs N's case have been reminded on the guidance in place about making decisions involving the separation of a family." [1]

As soon as Ms Maseko contacted Black Women’s Rape Action Project, we, with the help of the International Women Count Network[2], alerted breastfeeding organisations and lact-activists, midwives, health professionals, MPs, Lords and concerned individuals. Support letters show the depth of concern:

As a mother myself I struggle to understand the pain and heartbreak she has been forced to endure whilst in a vulnerable state so close to the birth of her son”.

The physiological and emotional effects of separation are immense and a civilised government should not be inflicting such brutality on families”.

I am spreading the word about the disgusting treatment [Ms Maseko] received at SERCO, and I trust that the people who denied [her] a SHOWER and a BREASTPUMP will be made accountable for their actions”.

We put these people in power, we give them the mandate to act as they have done, we are their watchdogs, and we are the people they must account too! Write! Write! Write!

For background details of Ms Maseko’s situation go to LINK


Ms W, detained and threatened with removal whilst pursuing a complaint against Stoke Newington Police for raping her oldest son has been released, again after we rallied many people to protest her treatment.

Ms M, 23 weeks pregnant, vomiting and bleeding and clearly unfit to travel was also facing removal when she contacted us. We suggested she fax the Chief immigration officer to explain that she feared she might miscarry and that she would hold them responsible if she lost her baby. Within a few hours, she called back to say she and her husband were being released on temporary admission.

Ms Jacklyn Edwards, Sadly and despite many people writing in protest, the Home Office deported Ms Edwards, on Bank Holiday Monday, a day the Home Office chooses to remove many people since few solicitors are available and public support is harder to mobilise. Ms Edwards called to thank everyone for the support she had received, and to encourage her sisters in Yarl’s Wood to keep fighting for their rights.

Many women still detained in inhumane conditions

For other women left inside Yarl’s Wood Removal Centre, protests against its inhumane regime continue. An APPEAL FOR AMNESTY, received today, addressed to Gordon Brown and signed by 121 women, spells out women’s situation from the reason they are forced to leave their home countries in the hope of finding protection to the abuse they receive from the moment they arrive in the UK:

We write to you as grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters . . . we are victims of torture and ill treatment having been forced to flee our countries of origin . . . suicidal attempts are many . . . pregnant women have lost their babies . . . the suffering is endless . . . when it comes to removing us we are being beaten mercilessly and bundled in the plane and injured and in the most inhumane way you can imagine”. Full text attached.LINK

Women’s outstanding demands include:

Release from detention – some of us have been held for over two years.

No punishment or retribution against those protesting or on hunger strike.

Stop sabotaging our asylum claims. Vital faxes are withheld, staff refuse to allow us to fax information even to our lawyer or MP and confiscate legal rights information. 23 women signed a letter of protest at LAW’s Self-Help Guide being snatched from them during room searches or at other times. We are told “you are not supposed to have this in the centre”.

Our privacy should be respected. Male guards come into our rooms without warning, even when we don’t have clothes on. They search the room scattering our underwear.

An end to violence from staff especially when they take us to the airport. Women have been assaulted, handcuffed, drugged and beaten up. One woman was stripped naked and thrown in the van. The pilot refused to take her as she had no clothes.

Sexist and racist guards to be sacked – we are called ”black monkey” “nigger” and “bitch” and told “go back to your country”.

Stop stealing our money. We want an investigation into how money sent by relatives and supporters, which the authorities put into accounts, later disappeared.

We want our 71p daily allowance – it’s a pittance but we are entitled to it.

No profiteering – a pack of peanuts has gone up from 20p to 42p.

No fingerprinting of visitors – we’ve had less visits since this started.

A choice of sanitary pads – we are only given one type but for those of us with heavy periods they are not enough.

Better health care – whatever our complaint we just get an aspirin

Food we can eat. It is the same every day – days old re-heated jacket potatoes, uncooked rice, partially cooked fried eggs, food with hair, dirt and sometimes maggots in it. It’s rationed so we don’t get enough to eat -- one tin of sardines between three people – and the serving people are rude.

How you can support women:

* Email or fax:

1. Liam Byrne MP, Minister of State for Immigration, Nationality and Citizenship, Fax: 020 7035 4745

2. Meg Munn MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Women and Equality) Fax: 020 7944 5891

3. Beverley Hughes MP, Minister for Children, Young People & Families Fax:020 7219 2961

4. Patricia Hewitt MP, Secretary of State for Health, Fax: 020 7210 5410.

5. Brian Pollett, Head of Detention Services,

6. Victoria Jones, Director of Yarl’s Wood, Fax: 01234 821152

* Alert your networks, the press and other media.

* Send donations and/or offer other help. Make a donation to BWRAP or Women in Dialogue (WinD), the charity which runs the Centre where we are based and an emergency fund for women asylum seekers (donations to WinD are tax deductible – more information from ).

Lobby your MP to sign EDM 406 RAPE AND FEMALE ASYLUM SEEKERS, Circulate our Asylum from Rape Petition

Remember to copy letters to:

Black Women’s Rape Action Project (BWRAP)
PO Box 287
London NW6 5QU

Tel: 020 7482 2496
Fax: 020 7209 4761.


Janipher Maseko fled Uganda after her mother died and she was raped by armed rebels. Guardian Saturday 24 November 2007

Stop the threatened removal of Janipher Maseko, breastfeeding mother with two babies

[1] “Breastfeeding mothers detained away from babies”, Matt Weaver, The Guardian, 18 August 2006, which also includes example of a Turkish mother detained and separated from her 15-month-old boy.
[2] Also based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre, IWCN published The Milk of Human Kindness – Defending breastfeeding from the global market & AIDS industry(Crossroads Books, London 2002).